Last-place Toronto FC loses fifth straight, Pozuelo misses game with injury

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CINCINNATI — Toronto FC coach Javier Perez felt his side had a hard time adjusting to the unexpected absence of their designated player.

TFC was without Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo Saturday. The team said he experienced lower-body discomfort in training Thursday and he was kept out of the match as a precaution.

Last-place Toronto FC went on to lose 2-0 to FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium.

"This is one of the situations that we have the MVP of last season, that he was ready to play this game, and the last day right before travelling, he got this injury that takes him out of the game," said Perez. "So that affects mentally the team and the whole dynamic.

"So between that, players coming from international break, I think it's a little bit difficult to get all the parts ready for the game."

Brenner and Haris Medunjanin each scored as Cincinnati (8-10-6) snapped a 12-game winless streak, including three straight losses. Cincinnati is 13th in the Eastern Conference, five points above Toronto.

Toronto (3-14-6) has lost five straight matches and is winless in eight in a row. The team has the worst record in MLS and is 16 points out of a playoff spot in the East.

"I would say we're frustrated, but the group is together, and I think that's very important," said TFC forward Dom Dwyer. "When things don't go your way, it's easy to step away from each other. The group is united and together, and right now we know we can only get ourselves out of this.

"So we'll dig deep, we'll stick together and get back to work on Tuesday. We know we have a tough hill to climb to make it to the playoffs, but we'll take it one game at a time."

Brenner toe-poked Luciano Acosta's pass into the back of the net in the 39th minute. Medunjanin scored his second goal of the season in the 58th on a double deflection that got past goalkeeper Quentin Westberg.

"This is a massive result for us, something we needed for a long time and it's just the first step," said Cincinnati defender Ronald Matarrita. "We are going to keep going forward and build from this and move on to the next one."

With files from The Associated Press.

The Associated Press

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