The Toronto FC again displayed the lack of a finishing touch on Saturday but it was defensive gaffes that led to their downfall in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Toronto (4-5-4) never led in the game at BMO Field. Danny Dichio scored his second of the season in the 64th minute to draw the Toronto even, but Edson Buddle haunted his old club with the winning goal 13 minutes later.
Los Angeles (2-9-1) caught the Toronto defence napping soon after kickoff, with Alan Gordon scoring in the fifth minute.
Toronto was particularly negligent on set pieces, with Eddie Lewis setting up the Gordon goal on a corner kick and in the second half nearly assisting again on a free kick, with only keeper Stefan Frei preventing the score.
Tough week for TFC
The loss continues a brutal string for Toronto. Last week, it lost in league play to Houston 3-0 and followed it with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Canadian club championship.
The latest result will be especially distressing to the club as Los Angeles had scored just 13 goals heading into the contest.
Chad Barrett and Pablo Vitti continued to be snakebit up front for Toronto, which had several solid chances to score on opposing keeper Donovan Ricketts.
"We lacked quality in front of goal again," Toronto FC coach Chris Cummins said. "Eighteen attempts and only one goal. I sound like a broken record, don't I?"
Key players for both sides were missing due to World Cup qualifying. Toronto's top scorer, Amado Guevara, plays for Honduras on Saturday night against the United States, while Toronto fullback Marvell Wynne and Galaxy forward Landon Donovan are on the American side.
The Toronto coach wasn't going to use the absence of Guevara and Wynne as an excuse.
"The two of them are big-time players," Cummins said. "Our other players haven't come in and taken advantage of their chance."
Gordon snuck behind Toronto defender Marco Velez to head the Lewis cross from the corner in for a 1-0 lead.
Dicchio chipped the ball near midfield to Barrett, who burst past Omar Gonzalez. However, Ricketts came out and took away the net, taking the shot in his chest.
Vitti showed poise controlling a Dicchio pass in the Galaxy box in the 34th minute, but his header didn't have enough steam to get by the L.A. keeper.
Toronto applied relentless pressure at points in the second. Dwayne De Rosario and Rohan Ricketts were among the Toronto players who had shots turned aside by the Galaxy goalie.
Dicchio would draw even, a play started by a Ricketts free kick that led to a scramble.
But Buddle would shake free of Toronto defenders on the left side, taking a Gordon pass and beating Frei with a shot inside the right post.
"I wanted to get a win here, and to get the winner here was special," Buddle said. "I had a rough time when I was here, and to get a goal here on the [artificial] turf — which I do not like — it feels even better."
Before the game, former NHL player and lifelong soccer player and supporter Peter Zezel was honoured with a moment of silence. Zezel died on May 26 at the age of 44 after battling hemolytic anemia, a rare blood disorder.
Toronto's next league outing is June 13 at home against New York, a match moved up to allow for the scheduling of an exhibition with storied Spanish club Real Madrid.
The club announced on Saturday another exhibition, against longtime Argentine club champion Atletico River Plate on July 22.