Toronto FC will attempt to snap a seven-match winless streak at home on Wednesday when the club welcomes the Montreal Impact to BMO Field.
After winning its opening match at home this season, a 2-1 triumph over Sporting Kansas City at the Rogers Centre, TFC has failed to win any of its seven games at BMO, including a 1-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake last time out.
Yordany Alvarez scored the lone goal on the stroke of halftime for the visitors. And while TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen acknowledged that his side could have played better, he was most upset with the officiating after the match.
"In all honesty, I thought our performance was probably not as good as it has been in our last three or four games," Nelsen said at his press conference after the match. "In saying that, we had a stone-cold penalty and I was astonished why the referee did not give it."
The incident that upset Nelsen was a decision by referee Chris Penso not to award TFC a penalty kick after Toronto forward Jeremy Brockie went down under a challenge from RSL defender Nat Borchers.
Nelsen has become increasingly unhappy about the quality of officiating in matches involving his side, feeling as though the league is assigning inexperienced officials to Toronto games on a regular basis.
"I wonder, with these inexperienced referees, what the outcome would be with certain other teams running in on goal," Nelsen said. "I'm guessing it might have been a wee bit different. I just look for consistency. That's all I ask. I know it is a very tough job. I wouldn't want to do it, but they get paid to do it, so they have to be under the microscope as well."
Toronto enters the game second from the bottom in the Eastern Conference and just three points clear of last-place D.C. United.
Montreal, meanwhile, sits atop the East having won four of its last six games, although the team is coming off of a 4-3 defeat to Colorado in which the Rapids scored twice in the final 13 minutes to overturn a 3-2 deficit.
Daniele Paponi scored twice for the Impact to put the team ahead with less than 20 minutes to play. But Deshorn Brown equalized in the 77th for the Rapids and Tony Cascio took advantage of an error from Davy Arnaud to collect a turnover and score the winner in stoppage time.
After the match, Montreal head coach Marco Schallibaum was pleased with the effort of his team, but he felt they might have wanted to win too much, leading to individual mistakes.
"My team had intensity, heart and a will to win," Schallibaum said in his postgame press conference. "But individual mistakes cost us the tie, and they're a part of football. Maybe we wanted the win too much, but that's my team: we absolutely wanted the three points."