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Nightmare on Sherbrooke Street: Horrific Loss Punts Toronto FC From Playoffs

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Toronto FC waited nine years for their first ever playoff appearance, but they are going to have to wait even longer before getting anywhere near the MLS Cup.

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Halloween may be a couple of nights away, but Toronto FC have already lived through their worst nightmare. Just 18 minutes into their first ever playoff game the reds were down, and the bleeding never stopped from there en route to a grueling 3-0 loss to the Impact.

Patrice Bernier sliced open Toronto FC before the game had really settled, then Ignacio Piatti took advantage of a Josh Williams slip. Didier Drogba, surrounded by 8 shell-shocked Toronto FC defenders, delivered the last nail to the coffin in the 39th minute.

All of this to the tune of Montreal's new goal bell, which became more ominous with each ring, sounding the end to Toronto FC's season.

If earlier this week was decision day, then tonight was judgement day for Toronto FC. All season long they have asked that their full body of work be considered, that they only come before the jury when the season was over.

When they finally got a chance to make that body of work look positive, they lost their heads, and now will have to answer for their sub-par performance tonight.

The judgement will start at the top. It is the manager's job to get his players ready for a game, and Toronto sure weren't ready tonight. They also weren't organized, something Montreal exposed early and often.

It will be Didier Drogba who earns all the headlines after tonight's game, that comes with the territory. However, it was Ignacio Piatti who Toronto FC truly did not have an answer for in tonight's game. He had a goal and an assist, and easily could have had more.

The Greg Vanney constructed backline appeared to have no answer for the Argentine designated player, starting with Jackson who was exposed time and time again. It took Vanney until halftime to make an adjustment, by then it was too late.

Toronto FC's big three, their difference makers all season, were also missing in action. Sebastian Giovinco did what he could but was largely defended out of the game by an Impact team who had little else to focus on in the attack.

Michael Bradley, who is supposed to be the leader of this team, was part of the problem today, losing the midfield battle to an inspired and energetic Bernier, who is eight years his senior.

There isn't much to say about Jozy Altidore, because his play on the field tonight was that forgettable. Toronto never got him service, and he never went seeking for the ball himself.

Seeing these players, in whom the club has invested so much time and money, sputter on the biggest stage had a certain familiarity to it. It's a familiarity that has followed this club around all season, and for their entire history.

It's the feeling that no matter what this team accomplishes, no matter what little flashes of talent there may be, they will always regress back to mean. There is also some deep, fundamental problem with Toronto FC teams that they can mask for a while.

Then, usually at the worst possible moment, as was the case tonight, it rears its ugly head and makes everyone feel foolish for being so optimistic. That was thought to be defending this year, but watching the team tonight it was clear the problem has deeper roots.

It's unfortunate, because talent wise this Toronto team really did have an opportunity to make some progress this season. Maybe they did, however small, but in the aftermath of today's match this season just feels like the same old Toronto FC squad.

Tonight still marks a historic moment for this franchise: their first ever playoff game. However, at the end of the day, after that display, it hardly feels like they made the playoffs at all.