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Toronto FC has Learned the Way of the Road, Now Need to Improve at Home

The club has rarely been called road warriors in its history but has proven to be early this year.

Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

For most of Toronto FC's ten-year history, it hasn't mattered where they play, they were a disaster. Going into this season, the club had won just 77 Major League Soccer games in 290. Basically, they have won just once out of every four games in franchise history.

Yes, there were a lot of dark days for Toronto FC, but the vast majority of those came on the road. Toronto FC had spells, whole seasons even, where they were decent at home. Success on the road, however, has been erratic at best.

Toronto FC set the tone for road woes in its first season, when the club won just once on the road. Since then they have generally been a disorganised goal conceding mess on the road,

That is, until this season. This past Wednesday was a reminder of how far Toronto FC has come: they played the most boring uneventful road game possible. In other words the perfect one. The resulting 0-0 draw was all they needed to advance to the Voyageurs Cup final.

It was also the fourth road clean sheet that Toronto FC has managed this season in all competitions, which has to be getting close to some kind of club record. They've looked uncharacteristically professional in their ability to go into opposing venues, shut up the home crowd and leave with at least a point, if not more.

The glaring issue with this season so far is that Toronto has allowed the opposition to do the same to them. The club has only collected five of a possible 12 points at home, They have allowed opponents to leave BMO Field with five of their own.

Since playing their best game of the season in their home opener, Toronto FC has appeared nervous in front of its home crowd. They have messed up countless chances, allowed their opponents too many of their own, and ultimately failed to take advantage of circumstances being in their favour.

Defensively, the issue has largely centred around pushing the club's full-backs too far forward. Especially in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto FC allowed far too much space to attackers on the wings, and was consistently burned as a result.

On the other side of the ball, however, it has been a number of issues. The biggest one has been missed chances, but injuries and a lack of depth have also played a role. Outside of Sebastian Giovinco at times, and the cameo by Jordan Hamilton, there has been very little clinical finishing from Toronto FC this season.

The fact that Toronto FC is currently tied on points with the eighth placed team in the Eastern Conference is almost exclusively down to their home form. The club still needs to learn how to dictate the pace of the game at home, and then find a way to win it, before it can throw its hat back into the ring of Eastern Conference contenders.

Toronto FC will get a chance, albeit a difficult one, to turn things around when they take on the LA Galaxy at home on Saturday. They had better do it soon, or see an already paranoid BMO Field fanbase slip further into despair.

After all, in MLS teams are almost always only as good as what they can do at home. So far, that threatens to be Toronto FC's undoing.