The Reds have given up the first goal in three straight home matches in July.
TORONTO — Another slow start by Toronto FC saw the team have to come from behind to secure a 1-1 draw versus the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night.
It was the third consecutve match where TFC gave up the first goal, and head coach Ryan Nelsen admitted that his side's recent tendancy to concede first has cost it valuable points in a tight MLS Eastern Conference.
"We conceded a soft goal again," Nelsen said of Darren Mattocks' 50th-minute opener for the Whitecaps, which was the result of a tap-in after the Jamaican international was left wide open less than ten yards from TFC's net. "I think they only had a couple of shots on target the whole game, but one of them went in, and that was a soft one when we had numbers around there.
"And then when we got the (tying) goal (from Jermain Defoe), I think we were probably the only team that was going to win it ... we had three or four pretty decent chances, actually, to win the game and we didn't take it, unfortunately."
The Reds have made a habit of chasing games lately, with the results being mixed. A 2-1 loss to D.C. United on July 5 was followed by a 4-2 comeback victory over the Houston Dynamo a week later. Wednesday's deadlock with the Whitecaps gave TFC a 1-1-1 record over the past three league matches — all of which were at BMO Field.
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Nelsen admitted to being "frustrated" by the slow starts, especially Wednesday's match against a Vancouver side that has had its own share of struggles in recent weeks.
"I was really disappointed with the first half," Nelsen said. "We didn't really get going, we didn't really have an energy about us that you need to have and even though we were in control and they (the Whitecaps) didn't have anything dangerous."
Despite feeling like it left points on the table, the team's focus is already on the next match. Midfielder Michael Bradley, who returned to Toronto's starting lineup after sitting out Saturday's victory over Houston due to fatigue, said his side — in the midst of a gruelling midsummer stretch of games — couldn't afford to dwell on the disappointment of Wednesday's draw.
"A point's a point, we'll take it," Bradley said. "We do that tonight and we get ready knowing it's going to be a quick turnaround and another tough game (in Houston) on Saturday."