A week after D.C. United put it all together in a 4-0 win against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Black-and-Red took a step back on Saturday afternoon, falling 1-0 to Toronto FC. Sebastian Giovinco took advantage of an early miscue from United, tapping in from yards out in the first minute.
Despite plenty of possession for the remaining 89 minutes, an unchanged side from last week failed to mount any sort of comeback, falling to their third loss in seven games this season, their second home defeat in four tries.
Before many fans even had a chance to take their seats, Toronto was up a goal, as Giovinco found the back of the net for the 4th time this season. Jozy Altidore took the ball out wide, and sent a cross into the box, with Marky Delgado making the run in. Delgado didn't make clean contact with the ball, and his mishit fell right to Giovinco, who couldn't miss from the doorstep less than a minute into the game.
The same trio combined in the 6th minute to create another chance, as Giovinco's long ball into the box was knocked down by Delgado. Altidore was first to the ball, but could only manage to weakly fire at Travis Worra, who had no trouble in collecting the shot.
United then began to come alive, as Marcelo Sarvas went on a mission to create a chance just moments later. Causing a turnover in midfield, Sarvas played a give and go with Chris Rolfe, then fed a pass into the box for Patrick Nyarko. Nyarko had a small opening, but his shot was blocked out for a corner.
Lamar Neagle then came inches from his second tally of the season, as his shot from just in front of goal whistled just past the post. A long throw in from Nick DeLeon bounced in the box, allowing Neagle to take a stab just in front of Clint Irwin in goal, but the shot was just wide.
Steve Birnbaum headed a cross wide for the Black-and-Red in the 18th minute, before Giovinco failed to add to his tally when he fired off the mark from outside of the box.
Michael Bradley's free kick in the 27th minute created a moment of danger for United defensively. Bradley's curling cross in from the left flank bounced in the box in front of goal, but with Drew Moor ghosting in to apply the finish, Worra was able to push the ball out, and D.C. was able to clear their lines.
United finally put Irwin to work four minutes later, with Nyarko forcing a smart save out of the former Colorado Rapids' shot stopper. Fabian Espindola worked a cross into the box, which Lamar Neagle was able to play over to Nyarko. Nyarko side stepped two defenders with his first step, but then saw his shot smartly saved by Irwin.
The last scoring opening came in stoppage time, as Bradley had another chance to chip in a cross from a set piece. This time, his effort was won by Josh Williams, but the center back headed over for the Reds.
In thee second half, Toronto had few qualms about sitting back and absorbing pressure from United, with the occasional foray forward on the counter. That left United with plenty of the ball in Toronto's half, although too often, United wasn't on the same page.
Espindola had the first look in the second half for United, cutting back in from the left flank to get the ball on his right foot. His shot from outside the box, was on target, but presented little trouble for Irwin, who confidentially caught the shot.
Two minutes later, defensive pressure from United created a turnover in Toronto's half. Espindola picked up the ball, and quickly looked for Rolfe. The pass and the run were mistimed, and Rolfe had to come back to claim the ball, which took all the power out of his shot, which was blocked.
Nyarko's cut back in the 55th minute created a lane for a pass to Rolfe, who then had a long range effort saved by Irwin. It was then Sean Franklin with the cut back in the 62nd minute, picking out Nyarko, only for the shot to be blocked out.
Ben Olsen then turned to his two impact subs from last week, bringing on Alvaro Saborio and Luciano Acosta in hopes of changing the outcome. But neither had the same sort of influence against Toronto, as the stagnation offensively continued in the second half.
Saborio had one look in the 67th minute, combining with Nyarko out on the left, which created a shooting opportunity for the Costa Rican. But the shot was screwed horribly wide, and United failed to threaten from that point on. With plenty of the possession, United couldn't find a way past Toronto's stingy back line.
Giovinco had a speculative effort in stoppage time that nearly netted the insurance goal, before Worra stoned Will Johnson just before the final whistle to keep the Reds at one goal. But it was for naught, as United couldn't manage a last ditch effort to save a point.
United return to action next Saturday, hosting the New England Revolution at RFK Stadium.