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BMO Field Postseason watch: Toronto FC Clinches, in 2nd Place

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Each week Sven87 breaks down the Eastern Conference playoff race, with a special emphasis on Toronto FC, and how each match relates to their playoff position.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Mission accomplished. Or, as Benoit Cheyrou and Damien Perquis would put it, fait accompli. Loosely translated for Sebastian Giovinco, Missiano Accomplishado (not trying to offend, just figured this is probably as accurate as plugging it into google translate). I was also going to tell you Jozy Altidore's version, but he was sent off as I was typing this up- Fotis Bazakos walked into his living room and showed Jozy a red card when his neighbours phoned in a noise complaint.

Kidding aside, the Reds have done what we all assumed would take at least 15 more years, a change in ownership, and the opening up of more playoff spots to do: they clinched an MLS postseason berth. This should be celebrated- not necessarily as a victory for the players, but as a welcome change and massive relief for the club's long-suffering fans.

But the season is not over- alas, two games remain, and just where TFC slots into that top 6 is still very much in question.

Position Club Points PPG GP W L T GF GA GD
1 x- New York Red Bulls 54 1.69 32 16 10 6 56 41 15
2 x- Toronto FC 49 1.53 32 15 13 4 57 54 3
3 x- D.C. United 48 1.5 32 14 12 6 39 40 -1
4 New England Revolution 47 1.47 32 13 11 8 45 45 0
5 Columbus Crew 47 1.47 32 13 11 8 51 53 -2
6 Montreal Impact 45 1.41 32 13 13 6 45 43 2
7 Orlando City SC 44 1.33 33 12 13 8 46 55 -9
8 New York City FC 37 1.16 33 10 16 7 48 55 -7
9 Philadelphia Union 34 1.06 32 9 16 7 40 51 -11
10 Chicago Fire 30 0.94 32 8 18 6 42 52 -10

The nice thing about the current point in the schedule (as far as the Eastern Conference goes) is that every team has now played 32 matches- no more ‘games in hand' confusion to complicate the math as the playoffs approach.
With the win over the New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC catapulted into second place in the Eastern Conference. With the first and second place teams getting a bye through the first round, it would obviously be in TFC's favor to remain in this upper echelon in the East.

But that won't be easy. A mere two points separate fifth-place Columbus Crew (TFC's next opponent) from the Reds. Even the 6th place Montreal Impact can still catch Toronto, should they win their next two and TFC fail to collect at least two points over their remaining two matches.

Impact fans are already salivating at the (statistically unlikely) prospect of leapfrogging TFC by defeating them in the last game of the season, while Toronto supporters would be thrilled to knock the Impact out of the playoffs (also somewhat unlikely) with a favorable result of their own in the final match.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. After all, TFC can still finish anywhere from 1st to 6th in the East by the time the final whistle of the season blows. Hell, as renowned TFC enthusiast and tweet-happy blog champion Duane Rollins pointed out, they could even take home the Supporters Shield this season (if roughly seventy-nine other results go their way):

So let's just slow this all down. Taking it one week at a time, a number of interesting matches are approaching that can alter the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Here they are below- with the ranking of each team noted to their left:

  1. NYRB host Philadelphia
  2. Toronto host Columbus
  3. DC host Chicago
  4. New England host Montreal
  5. Columbus visit Toronto
  6. Montreal visit New England
  7. Orlando host NYCFC

On paper, TFC have one of the most difficult matches of the teams surrounding them. That being said, on any given day, anything can happen in MLS play. A savvy gambler would likely put their money on the Red Bulls defeating Philadelphia to clinch first, DC beating Chicago, New England coming out victorious against Montreal (although Drogba could single-handedly change the outcome of that match), and Orlando beating New York City FC at home (check).

But a savvy gambler also wouldn't put any money on MLS matches. Especially not at a point in the season where some teams have nothing left to play for (which could make both the Union and the Fire either very dangerous or completely ineffective).

In the aforementioned ‘most predictable' scenario, however, the 1st, 3rd, and 4th place teams all register victories. If that were to happen and TFC were unable to squeak out even a point at home against the Crew, we would all witness a terrifyingly quick drop in the standings from 2nd to 5th for the Reds- a move from a playoff spot that enjoys a first round bye week to a spot with no guaranteed home playoff game.

Being MLS, the exact opposite scenario could also, of course, occur. Gilberto, Andre Blake, and Didier Drogba (can you tell me which of these is not like the other...) could all lead their respective clubs to victory. Combined with a TFC win, the Reds could theoretically clinch 2nd place after this weekend, and even move to within 2 points of first place New York Red Bulls.

Nobody can predict the results of this weekend's match. But what we do know is this: Toronto FC need to make every effort to hang onto that 2nd place standing. At the very least, ending the season in the top 4 would bring the very first playoff match (involving Toronto FC) to BMO Field.

A win against Columbus would not only be a huge step toward that goal, but would also cement TFC as an Eastern Conference contender come MLS playoffs.