10 points from 4 games showed some serious momentum going into the world cup break, 6 points in 5 games after the break and TFC's charge up the standings is sputtering somewhat. Is this something we should be worried about, the return of the summer swoon? Remember back in the day when TFC used to be almost good (2008-10)? They'd look alright in the early going, then grind to a half during the summer months to take themselves out of playoff contention. We had a few years there of never being in the position for it to matter, but now it does, is it happening again? For example back in 2010, the last time there was a world cup break, TFC had 17 points from 10 games before the break (19 in 11 this year) and were looking good in the Eastern conference. They then got 6 points from their first 5 games after the break (exactly the same this year) and doubts started creeping in, which is pretty much where TFC are now.
2010 TFC never got things going again, with injuries and a DP striker who couldn't score very much playing a part in that, and by mid September their playoff hopes were hanging from a thin thread and Preki was toast. Ryan Nelsen has of course received a recent vote of confidence from Tim Bezbatchenko, and he seems much friendlier with the media so it's doubtful there'll be calls for his dismissal unless things go horribly wrong, but the whole dropping out of the playoff picture is very much a possibility unless results can be turned around a bit.
Houston are a poor team, we all saw that last week, but TFC still needed to take advantage of a couple of egregious mistakes to start the comeback and then seal their only recent victory. The form is discouraging and now injuries have started to pile up again, Mark Bloom and Jackson both joining Steven Caldwell in the role of sideline suit model.
Despite all that gloominess, there are good signs in these post world cup games, it does seem like there's efforts towards more than just the simple 4-4-2 and counter attack that started the season, the results aren't quite there yet but it's promising, we look more like a proper football team. Why this transition, with understandable early glitches wasn't started during pre season and the early portion of the regular season is an interesting, but ultimately pointless question, we can only hope things start properly clicking soon, though the injuries certainly don't help with that.
Anyway, whether as a result of fancyish new style or the olde fashioned countering style or simply taking advantage of mistakes again, let's hope we get this going again with another 3 points here. Though they may be struggling now, Houston can't be written off as a playoff threat yet, after today's game game the gap between the sides could be 4 points, it could be 10. Time for TFC to be ruthless for a change.
For further previews, know your enemy, podcast and all that, check out our storystream here. We'll have team news when it hits twitter and commentary and nonsense throughout the game, join us for all that.