TORONTO - A late-game goalkeeping gaffe by Milos Kocic was the latest chapter in Toronto FC's season-long struggle with conceding goals.
Kocic mishandled an easy save in the 88th minute, allowing Hamdi Salihi to score late in D.C. United's 1-0 win on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field.
It was the 16th time Toronto has conceded in the final 15 minutes of MLS games this season.
“I lost the game for my team today and I want to apologize to my team,” said Kocic. “The boys deserved better today and the fans and the club. Everybody deserved better and I let them down today so that’s it.”
The victory clinched a playoff spot for United (16-10-6), while last-place Toronto (5-20-7) stretched its winless streak to 12 games since beating Colorado on July 18.
The late goal came when former Toronto player Maicon Santos sent a cross from the right side that Kocic couldn't hold onto. Salihi was in the right place to tap home from close range.
Kocic had barely been involved in the second half as Toronto played aggressively against its playoff-bound visitors.
“I think it was the quietest the goalkeeper has had for quite some time,” said head coach Paul Mariner.
“When you’re in our position you’ve got to take your chances but we didn’t. You leave teams hanging around and things like that happen.”
Announced attendance was 15,281 on a chilly, blustery day alongside Lake Ontario, though swaths of seats remained empty as Toronto played its second to last home game.
Some fans even held up signs voicing their dissatisfaction as Toronto plays out the remainder of its sixth season — all without a post-season berth.
Five minutes in D.C. midfielder Andy Najar’s cross from the right side was deflected and Kocic had to be sharp to backtrack and poke the ball over.
Toronto’s only real opportunity of the first half came in the ninth minute on some nice build up on the right side.
Reggie Lambe sent a cross into the 18-yard box where forward Luis Silva just got his toe on the ball to deflect it towards goal. But D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid raced off his line and cut down the angle to block Silva’s shot.
“I think this was as well as I’ve seen them play for quite some time,” said Mariner. “We’ve got to take our chances but we’re not taking our chances.”
The visitors were gifted with an opportunity on the half hour mark as Toronto defender’s Darren O’Dea’s poor clearance resulted in Lionard Pajoy getting a chance at the top of the penalty area but his shot missed over the bar.
Toronto had the better chances in the second half and in the 62nd minute Hall took the ball to the edge of the D.C. penalty area and found Ryan Johnson, whose high shot forced a diving save from Hamid.
“I think for large periods we outplayed D.C. and when we had chances we couldn’t take them and unfortunately paid for it in the end,” said midfielder Terry Dunfield.
“Another day and I think the worst result we get is 0-0.”
Toronto threatened again in the 71st minute with D.C. slow getting back on defence. However, Andrew Wiedeman took too long on his shot, allowing the visitors to recover and his shot couldn’t get through traffic.