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Toronto FC finishes forgettable MLS season with loss to D.C. United

After playing his final MLS game, veteran fullback Justin Morrow stated he was stepping aside because it was “time for the next generation.”

Just how much turnover there will be at Toronto FC in the off-season remains to be seen. But Sunday’s regular-season finale — a 3-1 loss to D.C. United — was a reminder that plenty needs to be fixed.

Toronto (6-18-10) and the 34-year-old Morrow still have the Canadian Championship final to play versus CF Montreal, with date and venue yet to be determined. But the franchise has more than three months to ponder what went wrong this season ahead of the Feb. 26 kickoff of the 2022 campaign.

Sunday’s game had several of the hallmarks of TFC’s forgettable season — slack defending and an early goal conceded, an inconsistent attack and a long line of unavailable players. And the difference-makers didn’t make a difference, with striker Jozy Altidore one of three halftime substitutions. The burly striker, who was said to be feeling discomfort in his groin, had just eight touches in his 45 minutes.

Toronto came on late but the die was cast.

Ola Kamara scored twice for D.C., increasing his season total to a career-high 19, while Julian Gressel had two assists to raise his number to 14 on the season. Steven Birnbaum also scored for D.C.

Richie Laryea had the Toronto goal.

D.C. (14-15-5) needed a victory and help from others — the Red Bulls to lose at Nashville SC and Montreal to lose or tie against visiting Orlando — to secure an Eastern Conference playoff berth on the final day of regular-season play.

The Red Bulls did not co-operate, tying Nashville 1-1. D.C. moved up one place to eighth, but remained one point below the playoff line.

Six points behind the Chicago Fire, Toronto was destined to finish 13th in the 14-team East no matter what happened. Toronto, second in the Supporters’ Shield standings last season, started Decision Day 26th overall in the 28-team league.

Toronto finished the season with a franchise-worst 66 goals conceded, erasing the club mark of 64 in 2018 when the team went 10-18-6. It also matched 18 losses that year, second only to 2012 when the team went 5-21-8.

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