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39, 10, 37. Toronto FC chasing records.

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With TFC's season in the balance and the club preparing to face Portland on Saturday, a look back at how success is measured

37? Hmm, maybe it's a sign...
37? Hmm, maybe it's a sign...
Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, things are a little gloomy in TFC-land these days.

A once-assured playoff position looks tenuous, if not lost – a few solid results show promise, but the chance to banish the branding as a troubled-club has passed; the Bloody Big Deal has turned into a leaky mess – Jermain Defoe has returned, and is saying all the right things, but that this whole episode became such a public spat is indicative of dysfunction within; and the on-again, off-again Argos move to BMO Field is very much back on the table – as if it ever left.

Fans and pundits have every right to be troubled by the shambles that the last two months have been.

But easily overlooked in the midst of this current debacle are three numbers: 39, 10, and 37.

Rather random one may think, but 39 points, 10 wins, and 37 goals scored mark the best output that Toronto FC has achieved in the previous seven years of their blighted existence.

The year was 2009: Jim Brennan captained the side; John Carver was in charge – though he would leave in a huff, replaced by Chris Cummings just a few games into the season; and Mo Johnston, love him or loathe him (guessing it’s the latter), was still at the helm of the organization.

Such heady days

The special pink kits made their appearance; TFC would exclaim the most epic night of their existence, winning 1-6 in Montreal to hoist the first of four-consecutive Voyageurs Cups.

Pablo Vitti was the high-profile off-season acquisitions, brought in to score the goals, bolstered later in the season by Ali Gerba; a young Dwayne De Rosario was in the prime of his career; Julian de Guzman’s midfield domination would revolutionize the DP concept, and club legends, such as Carl Robinson, Amado Guevara, and Adrian Serioux were still in the fold.

The Gambian duo of Emmanuel Gomez and Amadou Sanyang were future stars, while the immortal Gabe Gala proudly sported the number 27 kit – his goal against Real Madrid in the middle of that summer would earn him an eternal spot in TFC trivia, lore, and the hearts of many.

Of course, it all ended so poorly; with that fateful rainy night in New York and the five goals that stormed into the Toronto net at Giants Stadium on the last day of the season.

Salt Lake would nick that final playoff spot instead of TFC, going on to win the whole darn thing, forever changing the history of MLS and transforming themselves into the admirable, if less-successful-than-desired, dynasty we know and cast jealous glances at.

Things could have been so different.

2010 would begin brightly, before burning out in midsummer with a run of one win in ten that saw both Preki and Johnston shown the door, thus truly kicking off the disastrous rotating door policy.

Fast-forward to the current season, look past the dire situation that is, to assess the raw numbers. Through 28 matches, TFC has amassed 37 points, 10 wins, and scored 39 goals.

Two points shy of their best-ever points haul, tying the mark for wins, and surpassing that for goals scored.

Even if one takes into account that 2009 was a thirty-game season (rather than 2014’s 34-match schedule), TFC has two matches left to win a game and collect at least two points to achieve their most successful season (in those limited numeric terms) of their existence.

Of course now that that has been said, the soccer gods will no doubt do their worst to foil such optimistic projections.

They are also on pace to achieve their best goal difference in the league – 2010’s mark of -8 marks the pinnacle; yes, the current tally is still negative – at -4, but baby steps are required to turnaround a hobbled ship such as this.

The season may not have turned out the way it was hoped, but there is still time to achieve that modest goal of making the playoffs. Six matches remain. Six; such a humble number for such large implications.

And after all, things could always be worse… at least this isn’t 2012.