Toronto FC is in the midst of a season-worst seven-game winless stretch, but that hasn't lowered coach Aron Winter's optimism.
His club returns home looking to extend its unbeaten streak to four games and avenge one of its worst losses of the season in a matchup with the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night.
Toronto FC (2-5-9) couldn't snap a long winless streak the last time it faced Seattle (5-4-7), falling 3-0 at Qwest Field on April 30. Winter's team ended an 0-2-4 skid the following week with a 2-1 win over Houston but has gone 0-2-5 since that victory.
However, Toronto enters this match having recorded three consecutive draws, including 2-2 at league-best Los Angeles last Saturday and a scoreless tie Wednesday at New England. Those positive outings have led Winter to believe his club could be on the verge of turning things around.
"Its always important to win a game," he said after practice Friday. "If you watched the games that we have played, we have played nine games tied. It should be nice to get now finally a victory to win.
"Of course, against Seattle, the circumstances are different now, we are playing at home. ... Everybody's focused for (Saturday)."
Toronto has allowed a league-high 25 goals but only two over the last three games.
"We are still rebuilding," Winter said. "I am still not satisfied about a lot of things, but if you're making a judgment until now, I think that we have improved a lot and we're on the right way."
Seattle, meanwhile, enters Saturday on a three-game unbeaten streak of its own but blew a late lead in a 2-2 tie with Vancouver last Saturday.
Goalkeeper Kasey Keller had allowed a combined two goals over his previous four games.
Defenseman Osvaldo Alonso recorded his first goal of the season but his poor decision making on defense ultimately led to the Whitecaps' first goal. He has taken some heat of late but earned high praise from coach Sigi Schmid for his play on both sides of the field.
"He gets a lot of shots from that place and it was good to see the ball go in. Hopefully that will give him confidence," Schmid told the Sounders' official website. "Alonso works extremely hard and does great things all the time. Sometimes simplicity helps you get out of a certain situation, but certainly the goal was well taken.
"If he's not the best, certainly I can't think of another two or three who are better than him at recovering the ball in midfield."