April 28, 2007 MLS Toronto FC lose to Kansas City Wizards 1-0 (from MLSnet.com)

04/28/2007 4:45PM
Patience is the key for Toronto FC
By Mark Polishuk / MLSnet.com Staff

TORONTO -- The magic word for Mo Johnston in the early part of this MLS season has been patience. Once his first-year squad had more time to get used to each other and the MLS style of play, the Toronto FC coach promised, the results would begin to come on the field.

Though Saturday's 1-0 loss to Kansas City dropped TFC's record to 0-4-0 (and -10 in goal differential), it was clear that Johnston's patience with his team is beginning to pay off. Toronto played its strongest 90 minutes of the season in the inaugural match at the brand-new BMO Field and nearly came away with a first point.

Johnston described his club's effort as "a vast improvement" over their first three losses, which included a 3-0 defeat last Wednesday to this same Wizards squad in Kansas City.

"When you see what happened on Wednesday and what happened today, it's a totally different effort," Johnston said.

The effort was best on display in the first half, when TFC outpaced K.C. 4-2 in shots on goal and came close on a few occasions to scoring the first goal in club history.

The second half, however, was a different story. The Wizards outshot Toronto 9-2 and eventually broke through with forward Eddie Johnson's goal in the 81st minute.

"We came out in the first half and gave everything," Johnston said. "We had them on the rack and just couldn't get the ball over the line. In the second half, we sat back and were very nervous ... the momentum swung the other way."

There were many positives that TFC can take from the game, particuarly on the defensive side. The Wizards' one goal and 13 total shots were the fewest allowed by Toronto in either category this season. Johnson could've added to his goal total were it not for Toronto 'keeper Greg Sutton, who made a pair of big saves against the K.C. striker.

"[Johnson has] speed to kill and he can burn down the line," Sutton said. "The best thing you can do if you've got a guy coming at you with that speed is be as big as possible and try to cut his angle off and that's what I was able to do on the first chances."

TFC can take solace in the fact that they delivered a strong effort for the sellout crowd of 20,148 in their inaugural home game. According to midfielder Maurice Edu, however, the day was "bittersweet" because the effort didn't result in a positive decision for Toronto.

"It's hard, you know?," Edu said. "We definitely thought we played better today but ... we're not satisifed. We have a couple of weeks off to practice and get better and next game we've got to perform and get that result. That's the main focus -- getting that result."

Johnston had nothing but praise for the home crowd, saying that Toronto's fans will eventually be known as the best in MLS. All it will take for his team to pay off this immediate love from their city is (what else?) patience.

"For the first time in a long time, I felt goosebumps," Johnston said. "It felt wonderful and I felt really bad sending [the fans] home losing 1-0.

"I know once we put the best product on the field, we're going to get better, we're going to get stronger. The fans deserve it -- it's been a long time coming to them."

Mark Polishuk is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

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