Make no mistake about it: Toronto FC is mired in a slump.
The Canadian club was held to a 0-0 draw at home by the lowly San Jose Earthquakes Saturday afternoon, running its Major League Soccer winless streak to four games.
Toronto (6-6-4, 22 points) has not won since registering a 3-1 decision over the Colorado Rapids on June 14.
Saturday's result against the expansion Earthquakes will hardly bolster the confidence of Toronto fans.
Neither will the team's anemic scoring record. In its last eight outings, including exhibition and Canadian Champions League contests, Toronto has only scored two goals in a game once, and hasn’t scored more than two goals since beating Colorado on June 14..
An irate Toronto coach John Carver barked at reporters in the post-game news conference when one member of the media suggested his team looked "sluggish."
"Do you think it was sluggish? Do you seriously think it was sluggish?" Carver fumed. "Listen, we threw the kitchen sink at them, they had one shot on goal and that was at the end of the game.
"Their coach came up to me at the end of the game and told me that we dominated."
Carver then turned the tables and asked another journalist what he thought about the game. When the reporter said it was sluggish, Carver replied, "that's because you don't know anything about soccer."
"Every one of my players put in maximum effort, so that's why I'm annoyed when you say it was sluggish. I don't know what's going on. Some of you [reporters] are really negative about this club ... and I'm starting to understand why the hockey team in this city hasn't won anything.
"I wonder if you guys want this team to be successful or not," Carver said.
He continued to rant for several minutes but then calmed down and after the tense standoff he spoke at ease and with great humour with several reporters in the locker-room following the news conference.
With top scorer Danny Dichio out with a concussion, 16-year-old Ibee Ibrahim made his first regular season start for Toronto.
Ibrahim caused plenty of problems for the San Jose defence with his speed, although he still needs to learn how to time his runs properly and show more composure in front of the net.
Like Toronto, San Jose continues to struggle. The Earthquakes have won just three of 17 games and are the league's worst team with just 14 points.
Not even the recent additions of forwards Darren Huckerby (acquired in a trade with Toronto) and Scott Sealy, and Brazilian midfielder Francisco Lima could help the lowly Earthquakes end their winless skid, which now stands at seven games.
Toronto did a good job of containing Huckerby and Ronnie O'Brien, who was traded by Toronto to San Jose prior to the season.
The teams battled it out in midfield during an uneventful first half, the only scoring chance falling to Toronto in the 33rd minute. San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon feebly punched at a cross played deep into the box and the ball landed at the feet of a wide open Amado Guevara who fired over the crossbar.
The second half started brightly with Toronto on the attack. Laurent Robert made a defence-splitting pass to Rohan Ricketts, who broke in on goal only to see Cannon come up big with a smothering save.
Toronto was given a lifeline in the 67th minute when San Jose defender James Riley was called for a foul inside the box on Ibrahim, but Cannon made a spectacular diving save to deny Guevara on the ensuing penalty shot.
San Jose withstood a constant barrage of Toronto pressure during the final 20 minutes to hold on for the tie.
Key match with Montreal
Toronto hosts the Montreal Impact on July 22 in the final contest of the Canadian Champions League (CBC Bold, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).
Toronto must earn three points in that game in order to win the competition and qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League.
BMO Field will also stage this year's MLS All-Star Game on July 24 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET) when the league's best face English side West Ham United. Toronto FC captain Jim Brennan was named to the MLS all-star team earlier this week.