Day of Reckoning for Toronto FC

The Seahawks are on a bye, the Huskies will get slaughtered by Oregon tomorrow, and Manchester United don’t play until Sunday. Who do I have to root for this weekend? Toronto FC and (for one day) the Seattle Sounders in the final weekend of MLS regular season play.

It has been a season of lows, more lows, highs and then more lows. But in the end Toronto FC has a shot at making the MLS playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Tomorrow afternoon in the club’s biggest game in franchise history, the Reds will travel to the Meadowlands to face league-worst  New York Red Bulls for a shot at post-season play. They will still need some help along the way.

The standings currently show the following for the final two unclaimed playoff spots:

7.) Colorado Rapids – 40 pts (playoffs)

8.) Toronto FC – 39 pts (playoffs)

______________

9.) New England Revolution – 39 pts (out)

10.) DC United – 39 points (out)

11.) FC Dallas – 39 points (out)

12.) Real Salt Lake – 37 points (out)

The Red Bulls have 18 points and have lost to TFC twice this season. The simplest route into the playoffs is a win at the Red Bulls and a tie/loss by FC Dallas at the Seattle Sounders. While FC Dallas is 11th in the standings they could leapfrog into 8th with a win because of the head-to-head tiebreaker. This is going to take a long time so here are the 5 cases for TFC to clinch at worst the 8th spot:

Case 1
Toronto FC beat the Red Bulls, and
Sounders beat FC Dallas
Case 2
Toronto FC beat the Red Bulls, and
Real Salt Lake beat the Rapids, and
Wizards beat D.C. United
Case 3
Toronto FC beat the Red Bulls, and
D.C. United beat the Wizards, and
Revolution beat the Crew
Case 4
Toronto FC beat the Red Bulls, and
Real Salt Lake beat the Rapids, and
Revolution beat the Crew

Case 5
Rapids beat Real Salt Lake, and
Wizards beat D.C. United, and
Sounders beat FC Dallas, and
Crew beat Revolution

Source: Playoff Status

The first 3 cases are the most likely but I’ll focus on TFC’s responsibility of winning. I’ve seen this story before. When their backs are against the wall and they aren’t playing a Montreal Impact Reserves squad, they blow it. Now they have to win just their 3rd MLS game on the road, with the other two against already-eliminated Kansas City Wizards and San Jose Earthquakes.

It’s likely that Toronto FC will win tomorrow but I won’t hold my breath. Strange things happen when this team performs on the road. More specifically the fact that they’ve conceded over a dozen goals in the final 15 minutes of matches, dropping more points in that category than anyone else in MLS. Does TFC have the mental strength and ability to play a full 90 minutes? It pretty much has not been seen at all this season, but now is the time to do it.

If they do not win at Giants Stadium then they are done. There is a 1% chance that case 5 actually happens and I doubt that will be accomplished. Anything but a win tomorrow will have me seething.

It would be gut-wrenching to see a first year Seattle Sounders team clinch a playoff spot while in year 3 TFC will possibly fail again. Sure it’s been an inconsistent year but they have a shot and they can’t blow it. TFC beat Real Salt Lake last week and kept their hopes alive. Other results for the most part went their way.

No playoffs this year should be curtains for Mo Johnston. It’s not an achievement to “almost make it” when you have talent like Dwayne De Rosario, Julian De Guzman, and Nana Attakora on the pitch. And if Mo goes then so should the coaching staff. Chris Cummins has shown no tactical intelligence in practically every game he has coached. He has nary an idea how to make proper substitutions and it has cost them points late due to some tired players.

TFC have a great chance to silence the critics and rise from the dead to achieve at least two weeks of postseason play against the hated Columbus C**w (you see what I did there?).

Either put up or shut up now. This applies to management, coaches, and the players. You could either prove all of us wrong or yet again leave everyone in disappointment.

Go TFC and go Seattle Sounders.

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