TORONTO -- The Earthquakes took the field Saturday afternoon without high-scoring World Cup-bound striker Chris Wondolowski, and the lack of offensive spark was glaring.
In the game's first half, the Quakes managed just one attempt on goal, compared with 10 for Toronto FC.
By game's end, the Quakes had dropped a 1-0 decision, ending the team's win streak at two games and marking its first-ever loss at Toronto's BMO Field. In five previous games there, the Quakes had won twice and drawn three times.
Playing with five starters either injured or on international duty, the Quakes fell behind early and struggled to recover.
"We started slow, which was disappointing," said Quakes coach Mark Watson. "But credit to our guys. They found a way to come back and give a good go of it in the second half.
"But I wasn't happy with their performance in the first half. We didn't seem like we had the energy that was necessary to compete right away."
Already short-handed with Wondolowski and Honduran Victor Bernardez on national team duty, a series of injuries forced the Quakes to field a patchwork starting lineup Saturday.
Midfielder Khari Stephenson sat out with an ankle injury, while a sore groin sidelined striker Yannick Djalo, and a bad hamstring kept midfielder Atiba Harris from playing.
The game's lone goal came the minute after a TFC corner kick. In the scramble for position, Quakes forward Alan Gordon tossed Toronto FC's Nick Hagglund to the ground in the 6-yard box, drawing the foul that led to the penalty kick.
TFC designated player Jermain Defoe scored by driving the ball into the lower left corner of the net as Quakes keeper Jon Busch dove in the opposite direction.
Watson chose his words with discretion but made clear he wasn't impressed by the penalty call.
"I don't want to say too much about it, but it looked a little soft," he said.
For Quakes midfielder Sam Cronin, the foul call and the lack of organization in a lineup thrown together quickly teamed up to do the Quakes in.
"It was an unfortunate penalty call on us, and we were chasing the game from there," said Cronin, who also spent two seasons with TFC. "I don't think we moved the ball very sharply."
England national team coach Roy Hodgson also bears some blame for the Quakes loss.
If he had selected Defoe for England's World Cup squad, the striker would have spent Saturday in Miami, facing Bernardez in a pretournament friendly between England and Honduras. His exclusion from the squad left him free to score the game-winner in Toronto.
After Saturday, MLS embarks on a three-week World Cup break. The Quakes return to league play June 28 against the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Quakes face Sacramento Republic on Wednesday in a U.S. Open Cup match that Watson values as a chance to move past Saturday's loss.
U.S. Open Cup: Earthquakes vs. Sacramento Republic FC at Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, 7:30 p.m.