7 points from 6 games since the World Cup break and games in hand slowly disappearing, with a 4 game road trip coming up. While the general mediocrity of the Eastern Conference means TFC are still in 3rd place, they're only 3 points ahead of 7th in the East and the only 2 teams that have shown any kind of consistent good form recently, Kansas City and DC, all of a sudden have built themselves a handy lead over the peloton. If TFC has ambitions of doing better than being in the pack around the final playoff spots, then this and Wednesday's game in DC are two crucial games, to show they do belong at the higher level as well as somewhat close the gap.
They'll have to do it today without Jermain Defoe of course, a golden opportunity for Gilberto test out the 'once he scores, he'll go on a tear' theory that he missed after his first goal due to an injury. Also an opportunity for the team as a whole to show they can play well and win without relying on Defoe. I'd never suggest TFC are better off without him, but they certainly played better last week in Houston before Gilberto was replaced by Defoe. As for the defence, they'll have to cut down on the sloppiness that has plagued them in recent games. Constantly going behind, often due to defensive mistakes is a recipe for disaster against as good a team as SKC are, one whose aggressive pressing when they don't have the ball is designed to produce the kinds of mistakes that other teams have been able to benefit from recently.
Generally this would be a game where you'd look at a tie as a positive result, but the earlier results mean that anything less than a win would be unsatsifactory.
For more pre game reading, check out our storystream here fior Kristin's preview, James' Know your enemy, a how you doin'? with Ben Gartland of the Blue Testament and the latest Vocal Minority podcast.
We'll have team news when it hits twitter and the usual comments and thoughts throughout the game. Join us here.