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Toronto FC suffer first loss of 2017 against Columbus Crew

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A rough patch early in the first half saw the Reds hand all three points to their hosts.

MLS: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC couldn’t hold on to an early lead as they suffered their first loss of the season tonight. The 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew at Mapfre Stadium in Ohio means Toronto also fall behind in the Trillium Cup, the trophy awarded to the winner of the season series between the two teams.

TFC has only won once this season, and are now winless in their last three games. For a team with Supporters’ Shield aspirations, it has been a disappointing start to the year. The lone real bright spot for Toronto FC during the match was a goal from Jozy Altidore. It was quickly canceled by Ola Kamara’s fourth of the season, followed shortly by Justin Meram’s winner.

Blown leads continue to plague TFC

MLS: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC just can’t seem to keep a hold of the lead this season. For the third time in six 2017 matches Toronto took and then lost the lead in a matter of minutes after a late first half collapse against the Crew.

As a result, Toronto has now left seven points on the table that they were once in a position to take. It’s a worrying trend for a team who were known last season for being able to hold leads once they got them.

This game in particular stings, because not only did Toronto blow a lead they also scored the game’s opening goal.

Backline struggles without Moor

MLS: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Going into this game against the Columbus Crew, the biggest story for Toronto FC was that they would play the match without Drew Moor. It was clear, especially in the first half, why. Without Moor, Toronto FC’s backline struggled for the second week in a row.

Nick Hagglund did fairly well in Moor’s place in the centre of the backline, but as a unit they got caught in transition far too often. Justin Morrow, who was playing in the back three, was too far forward on several occasions.

Behind the backline, it was hard to blame Alex Bono on either Columbus goal. But the young keeper did not look overtly confident behind this makeshift backline, although they did not do much to inspire confidence.

Ball movement is far too slow

MLS: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC’s ability to move the ball quickly up the field used to be a big part of their attacking strength. This season, the club has struggled to replicate that counterattacking ability.

Too often today the Columbus Crew were able to get set defensively and thwart Toronto FC’s attackers. Poor touches and poor passes, often times when a simple pass is available, continue to be the problem. The club still doesn’t look like it has gelled going forward.

Who’s next?

Toronto FC return home next Friday, where they take on the upstart Chicago Fire at 7:30 p.m. at BMO Field. Toronto are still looking for their first win at home.