SAN JOSE, Calif. — Sitting nine points back of the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and with 10 games remaining, Toronto FC needs every point they can get.
But heading home with a single, after having three points seemingly in their grasp, the club's head coach Greg Vanney was having a tough time seeing the bright side after San Jose's Chris Wondolowski scored the tying goal in the 77th minute of a 1-1 draw to the Earthquakes on Saturday night.
"Probably in most seasons and most nights I would be OK with it. It's our fifth game in 15 days and we traveled all the way from Toronto here on a short rest — the guys put a lot of effort into it no doubt," said Vanney.
"But having gone up 1-0 and in pretty good control of the situation, to lose a ball that in one pass turns into the goal, really just off of mistakes, just shooting ourselves in the foot at that point, then it's extremely disappointing."
Wondolowski ran onto a long pass from Nick Lima and ripped a shot from the right side that bounced off goalkeeper Alex Bono. Wondolowski chased down the rebound and chipped it in from the top of the 6-yard box.
He has 141 career MLS goals, four behind Landon Donovan for record.
Lucas Janson, a 24-year-old forward making his first MLS appearance after signing with Toronto on Aug. 8, opened the scoring for the Reds (6-12-6) in the 59th minute. Sebastian Giovinco led Gregory van der Wiel down the right side of the penalty box where he first-timed a cross to Janson for the finish into an empty net.
San Jose (3-13-8) is winless in its last 10 home games, the longest such streak in franchise history.
Toronto FC, the defending MLS Cup champions, will host the Montreal Impact next Saturday in a match with major playoff implications.
The Impact hold the final playoff spot in the East, sitting at 33 points along with the Philadelphia Union.
Vanney admitted that the odds are stacked against Toronto FC, but said they have the talent to claw their way back up the standings.
"I think we are in decent form and if we can come off of a regular week's preparation and guys are somewhat in form and healthy and we can put a group out there, then I think we can go on a big run and that's what it's going to take," he said.
"And so we'll see. We have the capability to do it, but we have to play solid soccer and we've got no room for error, no margin for error."
The Associated Press