Sandy • So close to stopping history, Toronto FC.
TFC, seconds away from capturing its first point of the Major League Soccer season, received a Steele-toed boot to the gut.
Real Salt Lake's Jonny Steele, who had substituted into Saturday's game in the 82nd minute, buried the game winner in stoppage time to salvage a 3-2 victory.
The entire Toronto team collapsed with disbelief to the Rio Tinto Stadium turf. Their only danger by then was being accidentally spiked by celebrating RSL players.
"It's devastating, because we played well," said Toronto forward Eric Avila, who scored the first of the team's two equalizing goals. "We worked hard for 93 minutes and that happens. At times you say it's football. At times you say it's kind of luck, but those are small things that we do need to fix."
Toronto (0-7-0) is now tied with the 1999 Kansas City Wizards for the worst start in league history.
When Doneil Henry tied the game for Toronto in the 77th minute, it looked for all the world that TFC, after squandering several chances, might just have the point it needed.
Toronto's Torsten Frings badly shanked a first-half penalty kick, and later TFC hit the crossbar.
"They probably had more clear chances the last five, 10 minutes than we did," RSL midfielder Ned Grabavoy said. "But [Steele] found himself in the right spot again."
And there is no sympathy for TFC, not with RSL fighting to right its own game.
Still, "They can taste that first victory," Grabavoy continued. "Imagine, they've been playing for a month and a half now without a win. You're tied in the last 10 minutes? So I'm sure they were feeling pretty confident, like they have nothing to lose, and sometimes, those teams are dangerous."
Now, TFC players as well as coach Aron Winter are trying not to hear the rumblings of discontent from fans and media.
"They worked very hard for it," Winter said his team. "In the end we needed to get at least one point. If you watch the game, if you're going to compare the chances that we had with they had, we had the better chances. We had the penalty, hit the crossbar. We got a lot of opportunities. That's football."
Another blow to Toronto FC
With Saturday's loss, Toronto FC is now tied with the 1999 Kansas City Wizards for the worst start in MLS history
Toronto tied the game twice on goals by Eric Avila in the 48th minute and Doneil Henry in the 77th
TFC's Torsten Frings missed a badly shanked penalty kick in the 17th minute