Toronto FC dropped a league-record eighth consecutive match to start the 2012 MLS campaign. Striker Ryan Johnson said the losing streak was "eating me up inside."TORONTO - Toronto FC made history Saturday evening at BMO Field.
The club's 2-0 loss to D.C. United was its eighth consecutive defeat to start the 2012 MLS season, which is a new record for futility and nothing short of a disgrace, say the players.
"This losing streak we're going through, it's hard to carry on your back," midfielder Julian de Guzman told reporters after the match. "Losing this many games in a row, especially in this fashion, it's very depressing and it's very hard to live with as a player, and I'm sure as a fan as well."
TFC held D.C. scoreless through the first half, and - true to form for this season - things came undone for the Reds through a couple of defensive lapses that the opposition pounced on.
Chris Pontius opened the scoring for the visitors just before the hour mark, and substitute Hamdi Salihi put the nail in the coffin at the 75th minute of play, sending thousands of disgruntled fans streaming to the exits.
"It's depressing to fight so hard, for so long, for almost an hour, keep the score at zero, and then one moment they score," said de Guzman, who had effectively shut down compatriot Dwayne De Rosario in the first half before D.C. shuffled tactics. "Mental lapses has always been our case of errors and it seems to be us making that mistake that allows us to chase the game.
"It's always mental lapses that changes things around and ... then the result is again the same thing that it's been the entire season."
For striker Ryan Johnson, the problems go much further than simple mental mistakes. The Jamaican international suggested that TFC's woes run far deeper than player error.
"We've given them [D.C.] too much respect. We're the home team. It's embarrassing," Johnson said. "It's embarrassing that the fans come to watch us we're just playing so defensive."
Johnson raised the possibility that Toronto has been approaching games incorrectly from a tactical standpoint, especially in recent matches where TFC has played far more conservatively than has been the norm.
"For me, I like to put pressure [on the opposition], I like to go forward, score goals, set things up," Johnson explained. "I want us to be on the offensive and you saw the frustration from me because I felt like we were on our heels the whole time just waiting for them to just play the ball, and we were just sitting in our half the whole time. We did that in the last game against Montreal [in the Canadian Championship] and it was the worst feeling, like I didn't even want to play any more. It's awful."
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The 27-year-old was distraught after the match, and when asked what the solution to his team's woes was, he couldn't say for certain.
"Something's not right, something has to change," Johnson said. "We can't go on like this. I can't go on like this. It's eating me up inside and I can't handle it any more."
De Guzman summed up the team's feelings as one of a very fragile side.
"We're walking on eggshells," De Guzman said. "Once they crack, everything just falls apart and I don't think that should be happening, especially at home when you have your fans behind you."