TORONTO -- For Toronto FC manager Greg Vanney, Wednesday's 3-1 defeat to Tigres in the Campeones Cup was a microcosm of his team's season.
"There were some good moments in the game, we had some good looks on goal, we got into good spots, controlled some things in possession," he said.
"Obviously they're a very good team, they're going to have their moments as well. They picked up three goals, some things we've got to do better at for sure. But some of it is also the quality of the players being able to make some plays. The night is what the night is."
The Reds started the match brightly enough and controlled many of the early exchanges. But the game turned in an eight-minute span of the first half. TFC midfielder Jay Chapman headed Sebastian Giovinco's corner against the crossbar in the 32nd minute and Jesus Duenas scored the first of his two goals four minutes later.
The sequence was completed in the 40th minute when Giovinco was forced out of the match due to tightness in his calf. Duenas' goal in particular grated given that he was sprung by a simple ball over the top. Bradley appeared to be in position to defend the play, but Duenas' beat TFC keeper Alex Bono to his near post.
"The first goal, there's no pressure on the ball, but we still need to manage the run," said Vanney. "It's not like it was super disguised. We should have been able to see it and drop and manage the run, bump the run, anything."
Duenas doubled Tigres' lead in the 64th minute when his shot from a half-cleared corner beat Bono in the TFC goal, and the game was made safe two minutes later when Eriq Zavaleta deflected Enner Valencia's cross into his own net. A late penalty from substitute Lucas Janson provided scant consolation for the home side.
TFC captain Michael Bradley agreed that the way the game progressed is something the Reds have seen too often this season.
"I thought we were aggressive, we did a lot of things we wanted to do in terms of making it hard for them, in terms of playing in their part of the field," he said.
"We couldn't quite get the final part of a play right to take advantage and then obviously disappointing to give up that goal. And then as has been too often the case, we have a few minutes of madness in the second half where the game in some ways gets out of reach. That part, those things are disappointing."
With TFC in danger of missing the MLS playoffs -- the Reds are nine points out of the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference -- Vanney had to balance this match with the regular season tilt this Saturday at the New York Red Bulls. Forward Jozy Altidore was pulled in the 56th minute. Vanney added that Victor Vasquez could have played in the match, but the decision was made to save him for the weekend.
"The guys are frustrated because they wanted to win the game, but at the same time they understand the importance of what's in front of them," he said.
"We knew coming into this week our priorities, but we decided that if we're going to play this game we need to play this game the right way. But we also understood that we have a very important match on Saturday. It's going to go a long way towards determining our future in the league. We're very much aware of that and took that into consideration as well."
As for Giovinco's status, Vanney was non-committal, but the injury didn't sound serious.
"We'll know more [Thursday]," he said about Giovinco. "He was getting a little bit of tightness in his calf and decided that he needed to shut it down."