Despite dominating possession and generating scoring chances, Toronto FC were defeated 2-1 by DC United on Saturday night at BMO Field. Their disappointing four-game homestand finished with three draws and a loss, as they now fall to third in the Eastern Conference.
DC's Lamar Neagle had both goals for the away side, capitalizing on two of the very few clear-cut chances his team had in the game.
The Reds took the lead first, with Jozy Altidore making a statement by stepping out defender Steve Birnbaum, slotting it into the back of the net, and jumping immediately into section 114 for an impactful celebration with members of Inebriatti. The southend supporters' groups were back in full voice for this game, having ended their protest.
DC was very quick to respond though, as Neagle equalized just three minutes later. Possibly a hair offside, he headed in a high pass from Birnbaum, who took the ball after TFC defender Eriq Zavaleta failed to clear.
The first half was, all-in-all, fairly positive for Toronto, as they took the lion's share of possession and got into the attacking third far more than DCU. The second half, while still largely controlled by the Reds, had more to be dissected, as several critical chances were botched.
Neagle scored his second of the game in the 58th minute, somehow managing to sneak behind three TFC defenders to get on the end of a perfect pass from Lloyd Sam. Drew Moor and Eriq Zavaleta both failed to mark him as he cut in behind, although he may again have been just offside.
Referee Mark Geiger did the home team no favours, with a pair of quite justifiable penalty shouts going without call. Dan Lovitz was shoulder-checked off the ball in the box, and Jozy Altidore was brought down well off the play, drawing the ire of the crowd. Both plays could certainly have been penalties, and perhaps would have been had they been outside the 18-yard box. Geiger also refused to call a handball in the 81st minute, when a United defender brought it down with his arm on the edge of the penalty area.
TFC certainly had chances, particularly when chasing a goal in the second half. Jordan Hamilton brought down a long ball completely alone just seconds after coming on, but was too close to keeper Bill Hamid to do anything with it. Michael Bradley missed several chances, but threatened the goal repeatedly, coming very close on a free kick in the 82nd minute.
The Reds assaulted the visitors' goal relentlessly for the last 15 minutes of play, but the majority of their shots were deflected or missed, none of them particularly dangerous. The majority of their chances were placed over or beside the net, failing to trouble Hamid.
Jozy Altidore and Armando Cooper drove much of the attack on Saturday, with Cooper showing flashes of brilliance with his ability to get out of pressure, and were arguably the two bright spots for TFC. Jonathan Osorio and Mo Babouli both disappointed, not linking up well with the rest of the team's offensive efforts.
Unfortunately for Toronto FC, New York Red Bulls pulled off a comeback 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, pushing the Reds down the standings into third in MLS's Eastern Conference. TFC have just two games left this season to build momentum for the playoffs, away to Montreal and home to Chicago.