TORONTO - In as trying a season as Toronto FC has had in 2012, the focus shifts towards the little victories rather than the bigger picture, and on Saturday afternoon at a blustery BMO Field, it looked like TFC was well on the way to one of those little victories.
The Reds controlled the play against a playoff-hungry D.C. United team, keeping the visitors at bay and - if not for a severe lack of savvy in the final third - looking far more likely to come away victorious.
Instead, TFC let D.C. hang around, and in the 88th minute a giveaway at midfield led to a shot from United substitute Macion Santos that was bungled by goalkeeper Milos Kocic. The ensuing rebound was easily tapped in by Hamdi Salihi, and in a matter of seconds Toronto's promising play had amounted to nothing.
"Maicon hit a deeper ball and those can be difficult for a goalkeeper, but at that moment I should have done better," Kocic told reporters after the match. "I don't know if I lost focus, I'm not sure what the problem was but I have to do better at that moment in the game."
Santos, who was a teammate of Kocic's at TFC last year, said he took the long-range blast knowing that the Toronto 'keeper would have trouble with it.
"I know Kocic," the Brazilian attacker said. "I know he is an awkward diver and he has made mistakes. I am glad he made one there because we walk[ed] away with three points."
For his part, Kocic immediately owned up to the blunder, gesturing to his horrified teammates that the goal was his fault. And the 27-year-old netminder would do the same after the game, as well.
"We deserved to win today," Kocic said. "I lost the game for my team today. I want to apologize to everyone.
"The boys deserved better, the fans, the club. I let them down today."
The loss was Toronto's 20th of the current MLS campaign so far, three more than it had in its inaugural season in 2007.