Pilot Heidi Kennedy
November 24 will see Toronto FC blasting off into the Major League Soccer playoffs in an attempt to reach the stars. The team have shown some exceptional form in the regular season to reach a very credible second place in the Eastern Conference. Their opponents in the MLS playoffs are yet to be announced. But there’s a chance that Toronto FC could face their bitter foes, Montreal Impact, in the next round. Other contenders include the likes of New England Revolution or Nashville SC.
It’s been revealed that Toronto FC have been given permission to train at home ahead of the big match. This follows a relaxation of rules regarding social distancing in Major League Soccer. All of which means that Greg Vanney’s team are looking good to try and recreate the stunning form that saw them get the domestic treble in 2017. So what’s behind this impressive run of form?
While Toronto’s second place in the Eastern Conference is impressive, it could have been so much better. Greg Vanney’s team has suffered some serious lapses in form in recent games. Nowhere was this better seen than when they were thrashed 5-0 by the league leaders Philadelphia Union at the end of October. What made matters worse was the fact that Toronto FC followed this up by losing 1-0 to NYC FC.
Such defeats were all the more unsettling as Toronto had previously been on a majestic run of form where they couldn’t stop winning. With star players like Pablo Piatti and Richie Laryea, it looked like Greg Vanney had worked wonders to create a well rounded team. Perhaps this isn’t surprising as the club have the highest player payroll in Major League Soccer.
Above all, it’s the fact that quality players like Michael Bradley are putting in strong performances where it counts that Toronto FC are finally looking back to their best. The team has also worked hard to overcome injuries to important players like Ayo Akinola and Jozy Altidore.
Despite the impressive run of form from Toronto FC, it’s clear that the team faces major challenges. The favorites to win the MLS Cup have to be either Los Angeles FC or Orlando City, plus with the likes of Philadelphia looking incredibly strong, it looks like Toronto FC’s work has just begun.