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Toronto FC striker Chad Barrett (left) competes for the ball with Houston's Patrick Ianni in the first half of the team's 1-1 tie on Saturday. ((Chris Young/Canadian Press) )

It's a measure of how much Toronto FC's confidence has grown lately in the MLS that they were a little disappointed with how Saturday's match turned out.

Up against league-leading Houston Dynamo — a team that humiliated the Reds 3-0 on May 30 — TFC came up with a solid effort this time for a 1-1 draw.

They had hoped for more.

Toronto held the lead 1-0 for much of the second half thanks to a pretty goal by Dwayne De Rosario in the opening 45 minutes.

But midfielder Bobby Boswell took advantage of a breakdown by the home team's defence to tie things up with 16 minutes to go.

"To have three points would have the better scenario for us," defender Nick Garcia told CBC Sports. "We squeaked a point away [from them], and it is a shortcoming.

"But you know what? Things are getting better for us and we have to maximize [chances] every game."

TFC moves a point up on Chicago for first place in Major League Soccer's eastern conference, though the Fire were to play later on Saturday and will still hold a game in hand after the weekend.

Bad clearance

The tying goal came just after Toronto had attempted to clear a threat back out of danger.

But the ball came right back in and found Boswell, who had snuck behind five defenders. He put a weak header on goalkeeper Stefan Frei who made the initial save but let the ball back out.

Boswell followed up and popped it by Frei for 1-1.

TFC spirits went from low to high during a three-minute span of the first half.

Key defender Adrian Serioux had a bad knee-on-knee contact with Houston's Geoff Cameron on 35 minutes. Serioux was able to get back up off the field turf in hopes of walking the injury off but a minute later he was back on the ground as the training staff came out.

Brennan moves back to defence

He had to leave and Danny Dichio came on, sending captain Jim Brennan from midfield back to defence. Later word was the injury was not serious to keep Serioux out for long.

Just seconds after the switch, Marvell Wynne put a strong ball through on the ground that Dichio, spotting De Rosario, stepped over and let it by. It went right to the TFC star just above the corner of the 18-yard box and he put a hard shot by keeper Pat Onstad for a 1-0 lead on 38 minutes.

Houston had been sniffing around the Toronto end for much of the early going and put a shot wide in the opening minutes.

Chad Barrett, fighting to keep his spot on the roster with new striker Ali Gerba due to arrive after the Gold Cup tournament ends, put two balls over the crossbar in the opening 45 minutes — one off his left foot and one off the right.

Barrett had two goals in last week's win on the road over San Jose.

Both teams were missing key players due to international commitments.

New TFC striker Ali Gerber is with Canada at the Gold Cup, while Sam Cronin is with the United States. Houston was without its top two scorers — Stuart Holden and Brian Ching — both on the U.S. squad.

Toronto now plays eight of its next 12 games on the road, beginning next weekend in Columbus.