For the first time in seven games, Toronto FC fans had a goal to cheer about.

TFC Designated Player Federico Bernardeschi got the TFC faithful off their feet Sunday night at BMO Field with not one, but two goals! Unfortunately, the solo efforts from the Italian attacker were not enough as the Reds were defeated 3-2 by 401 Derby rivals, CF Montréal.

“If we’re able to cut out some of the errors, there was some really nice football at times,” head coach Terry Dunfield said post-match. “I’m gutted for our fans, that we weren’t able to chase it with 11 men. I don’t think it deterred us, we kept going and it would’ve been nice if we had another five minutes, even with 10 men,”

Two of those errors that Dunfield eluded to occurred within less than 10 minutes of each other, about midway through the first half. Montréal opened the scoring in the 18th minute through Canadian midfielder Mathieu Choinière. TFC goalkeeper Tomás Romero — starting in place of the injured Sean Johnson — partially saved Montréal’s initial shot, but Choinière reacted quickly to pounce on the loose ball and slot it into the net.

The men from Montréal doubled their lead in the 25th minute thanks to an own goal from TFC centre-back Aimé Mabika. The Zambian international battled with opposition attacker Kwadwo Opoku in hopes of clearing the ball, but it ended up trickling into his own net.

The first 45 minutes concluded and the hosts found themselves with more possession, (55.8 percent to 44.2 percent) but only produced two shots and neither of them found the target. On the flip side, the side from Québec amassed eight attempts with three of them hitting the target, and the back of the net.

Dunfield walked media members through his half-time message in the dressing room.

“We had a choice. We could’ve said let’s stop the bleeding and continue with the back five, or trust in our work over the last three weeks and come back out on the front foot. We went back to the structure that we started the game with and it worked well.

“I thought Kobe [Franklin] came on and gave us a little bit of a lift. Brandon [Servania] had a nice relationship in midfield with Alonso [Coello] which allowed Oso[rio] to step out and press. I was happy with the response after halftime.”

New summer signing Prince Owusu made his TFC debut. The German striker had one effort on goal which came in the 48th minute. Owusu admitted after the match that he was not feeling 100 percent and is currently dealing with some illness issues.

“The day didn’t start well for me. I got a little bit sick during the night, so I had to take some medications. We tried everything to get me as fit as possible but I felt it in the game, I had less power. It was hard for me because I couldn’t play like I wanted. I knew that I couldn’t play the whole game,” Owusu explained.

Courtesy: Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

Owusu’s night ended at the hour mark when he was replaced by C.J. Sapong. Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty was substituted at the same interval, exiting for Lorenzo Insigne, who was doubtful for Sunday night but started the match on the bench.

Just six minutes later, the unthinkable happened: Toronto FC scored a goal.

Bernardeschi unleashed a shot with his left peg that left Montréal goalkeeper Jonathan Sirois rooted to his spot as he watched the ball hit the far corner of the net. It was Toronto FC’s first goal since Deandre Kerr’s headed finish against the New England Revolution on Saturday, June 24.

But, in typical TFC fashion, disaster struck 11 minutes later. Left-back Raoul Petretta barged into Finnish winger Lassi Lappalainen in the box, and the CFMTL man won his side a penalty. Petretta was shown a straight red card for his actions.

Courtesy: Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

Choinière stepped up and made no mistake, adding to his goal tally on the night and his breakout MLS All-Star season.

Bernardeschi would also record a brace, netting a consolation goal deep into second-half stoppage time.

Courtesy: Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

“It was a tough game,” Bernardeschi said post-match. “The first 20 minutes were good, we were aggressive, pressing. Mentally it was tough because the moment is tough. When another team scores, you’re thinking and this is normal in a tough moment. Unfortunately, tonight was a derby and we needed a victory but we lost again and we are frustrated right now.

“We worked very hard in the last two, three weeks, the team doesn’t deserve this. This is football, this is normal. Sometimes you go up, sometimes you go down — this is life. When you lose the game, every time, the confidence is low.”

Even though making the playoffs is a near-impossible feat, a derby win would have definitely helped the morale of the squad after a lengthy period without a competitive match.

“I’m happy about my two goals, but if I didn’t help the team to win, it means nothing,” Bernardeschi said.

Toronto FC hit the road and are back in action next Saturday, August 26 against the Columbus Crew at Field. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.