TORONTO - After six straight losses to start the season, it should become harder to put into words the frustration that Toronto FC players are feeling.
Not so for Ryan Johnson.
"These mistakes are killing us, and it's killing Toronto and our fans," Johnson told reporters after TFC's most recent loss, a 3-2 decision dropped to Chicago Fire on Saturday at BMO Field. "It's hard to keep letting down our fans every weekend and it's really starting to get to me."
Johnson's frustration comes on the heels of another game in which Toronto controlled the flow of the match while giving up costly goals on preventable defensive errors.
The problems started early for the Reds on Saturday, as they went down 1-0 after just 27 seconds of play thanks to a misplaced pass from the usually-dependable Torsten Frings.
The former German international took full responsibility for the opening goal, but it was just the first of a handful of errors at the back that saw speedy Chicago forwards Dominic Oduro and Patrick Nyarko get numerous clean looks at Milos Kocic's goal.
"I think we started very bad because of my fault after a minute," Frings said. "We know they have really fast strikers, and we gave a little bit of space in the midfield [which allowed Chicago to] play the ball in the back from the defense."
Johnson agreed with his captain's assessment, saying that the onus is on the players to not buckle under the building pressure of trying to reverse the losing trend.
"I think if we scored two goals, I think we should at least win the game, so it's our fault to give up three goals, especially the ones off set pieces right after we score," the Jamaican international stated. "That's on the players, so we've got to be more accountable."
Johnson felt that Toronto got lost in the joy of finally scoring - and briefly leading - at home, and that the team let its guard down after each of forward Reggie Lambe's two strikes for the hosts.
"That's just not using our heads," he explained. "The time you've got to be most aware is right after you score a goal, because [the opponent is] coming right back. This is a lesson for anyone in football that once you score, you have to be ready to defend right away, because they're going to come back."
At 0-6, Toronto has dug itself into a massive hole to start the season, one that Frings stated before the game would need to be rectified if the team had any hope of making the postseason.
After Saturday's match, Frings said the time has come for the Reds to stop thinking about the playoffs and just focus on getting their first positive result of the 2012 MLS campaign.
"I think we don't have to speak about the playoffs now. We need the first points, that's very important, then we can look what's happened in the next six [or] seven weeks," Frings said. "The season is still long, but now we have to look to get the first points ... and not talk about the playoffs."