Toronto FC undone by defensive miscues in loss to Philadelphia

Jaimiro Monteiro scored in the 68th minute as the surging Philadelphia Union took advantage of Toronto defensive miscues and hung on for a 2-1 win Saturday afternoon.

Jaimiro Monteiro scores go-ahead goal in 68th minute

Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Carlos Miguel Coronel makes a save as he collides with teammate Auston Trusty (26) as Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore looks on during the second half in Toronto on Saturday. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Ten games into the season and Toronto FC is very much still a work in progress.

Greg Vanney's team can score (22 goals) but a penchant for losing the ball in bad places is making life difficult on defence (17 goals conceded).

There was more evidence on display Saturday as Toronto (5-4-1) dropped a 2-1 decision to the surging Philadelphia Union (7-3-2).

Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo scored on a glorious free kick but Toronto paid for defensive miscues as a Chris Mavinga own goal and Jaimiro Monteiro's 68th-minute strike gave Philadelphia the win before an announced BMO Field crowd of 26,219.

To make matter worse, the offence has been creaky of late. Including a midweek loss in Atlanta, Toronto has managed just four shots on target in its last two games.

WATCH | TFC fall at home to Philadelphia:

Alejandro Pozuelo scored his fifth of the season for TFC, but it wasn't enough in a 2-1 losing effort to Philadelphia. 1:55

After Saturday's loss, captain Michael Bradley noted some of the mitigating factors to what has been a yo-yo run of form of late — star striker Jozy Altidore has missed action and Pozuelo was late arriving from Belgium. He could also have mentioned the absence of key defender Drew Moor.

Altidore returned in the second half after a three-game injury absence while Moor was on the bench Saturday. So the future looks brighter.

But for Vanney the team remains out of sync.

"When you concede as many goals as we have, we're fortunate that we've also scored as many goal as we have, but for me we've got to find a brighter balance in our performances in terms of purposeful attack and secure defending."

Bradley also sees room for improvement.

"In a perfect world we'd be sitting on a few more points and feel like some of these things were ironed out already. But that's life," he said with a sigh. "That's how it goes.

"There's been a lot of good moments, even as we're still trying to improve and push ourselves along. If you look at today, if you look at the last home game against Portland (a 2-1 loss), we shouldn't lose those games. Even with all that, we do enough in the games and are good enough that we should find ways to come away with points. That part we've let ourselves down on some different days."

Struggles continue

Toronto has now lost three of its last four (1-3-0). And after going unbeaten the first four games of the season (3-0-1), it has gone loss-win-loss-win-loss-loss.

In the 25th minute, a Philadelphia counter-attack laid Toronto open.

Kai Wagner's low cross carved open the Toronto defence after a turnover led to a counter-attack. Fafa Picault and Mavinga both slid for the ball, which bounced in off the defender.

Toronto trailed 1-0 at the break.

"We were passing the ball around but there was no venom in our attack," said Vanney. "It was just a lot of passing around. While that's nice, it doesn't win games passing the ball around. You've got to have some urgency to want to attack, to want to force the other team to have to make plays in front of their goal, to create chances ... and we didn't."

Instead, Toronto lost possession and paid for it.

The home side came out swinging to start the second half and tied it up via Pozuelo's free kick in the 51st minute from 20 yards out.

Then Monteiro, taking a fine pass from Kacper Przybylko that split the defence, beat Quentin Westberg with a right-footed shot in the 68th minute to regain the lead.

Toronto was down a man on the play with Brazilian fullback Auro unable to participate because his back locked up. Toronto also lost defender Laurent Ciman to an ankle injury in the 78th minute.

Toronto pressed hard as the clock wound down with the visitors doing their best to slow things down. That led to six tense, ill-tempered minutes of stoppage time

Philadelphia is now unbeaten in its last five outings (4-0-1), collecting 13 of a possible 15 points while outscoring its opposition 14-3. The Union have lost just once in their last 10 league games (7-1-2) while posting four shutouts and outscoring the opposition 22-7.


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