TORONTO -- Of all the ways Toronto FC has lost in 2013, Saturday's 1-0 defeat to a red-hot Real Salt Lake squad has to sting the most. Follow GOAL CANADA on Twitter
Despite showing a distinct lack of sharpness going forward, TFC looked the more threatening of the two teams on the afternoon and seemed to find new ways to not score on the league-leading visitors. A Yordany Alvarez wonderstrike just before halftime was all that separated the sides, as Toronto once again failed to capitalize on numerous chances on home turf.
"In all honesty I thought the performance was probably not as good as it has been in the last three or four [games]," TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said in the postgame press conference. "Even when our performance is probably not as good as it has been in the past, we're outplaying the best team in the west and the boys are completely gutted."
The stat sheet will show RSL with the same number of chances as the Reds, but the reality is that most of Salt Lake's opportunities -- including the one that ultimately decided the match -- were from well outside of Joe Bendik's penalty area, while Toronto created some good chances right in front of goal that on another day might have resulted in a happier ending for the long-suffering BMO Field faithful.
"It was one of those days when we had by far the more opportunities and more chances and we probably should have won," stated TFC attacker Jeremy Brockie, who watched as his late headed effort to level the match was cleared off the line by an RSL defender.
The last-ditch defending by RSL to preserve the victory was symptomatic of TFC's entire season, as the visitors were content to maintain possession at the back and soak up pressure knowing that Toronto wouldn't pose much of a threat in front of goal.
And while that tactic looked destined to fail amid a late flurry by the Reds, at the end it was yet another loss in yet another frustrating season.
Toronto has little time to dwell on the disappointment of Saturday, however, as it preps for a midweek clash with archrival Montreal Impact, who happen to be leading the Eastern Conference and are on something of a roll themselves.
The short turnaround is just fine by the players.
"All you want to do is play games," Brockie said, "and when you have a disappointing result like that the next one can't come soon enough."
Captain Darren O'Dea agreed.
"I don't want to sit a week waiting for another game," O'Dea said.
Follow GOAL CANADA on Twitter