Misery loves company, especially in TFC-land.
With club reaching the pinnacle of the Eastern Conference, riding a variety of positive streaks – overall: unbeaten in seven and winning last two; at home: winners of four-straight and unbeaten in nine – spirits soared.
However, as Icarus has taught, what goes up, must come down; cue the inevitable re-balancing.
First there was the loss to the Montreal Impact on Saturday night, halting all that positive momentum – never mind that once more the man-advantage proved no benefit at all. Then came the revelations of an offensive banner that appeared in the South End during the match and the reported treatment of Donny Toia. And this morning, it was announced that the injury that forced Sebastian Giovinco off in the 67th minute would see the Italian forward out for up to four weeks.
The loss will sting, especially as the club must wait until September 10 for a chance to wash away the foul taste of defeat, when they visit the Chicago Fire.
A statement regarding the offensive two-stick was released by the club this morning – Kevin McCauley addresses the imperfection of it at the main SB Nation Soccer site – though the shadow cast will remain until the perpetrators are identified and punished, if not beyond.
With Giovinco out, fingers will be crossed and breaths bated as Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley rejoin the US National Team for a pair of World Cup Qualifiers in Saint Vincent and Jacksonville, Florida.
In addition to Giovinco, it was announced that Jay Chapman and Ashtone Morgan will also sidelined. Chapman suffered an MCL tear in Orlando and is expected to miss three weeks, whereas Morgan will undergo surgery for a stress fracture in his foot – his timeline for return is six-to-eight weeks.
There was a modicum of good news: Benoit Cheyrou making his return to the pitch, especially in light of Bradley being on the verge of suspension, should he pick up his fifth yellow card in the coming matches.
The club has navigated lengthy spells without their stars before, but with Giovinco sidelined, it falls on the rest of the side to step up and provide the goals – Giovinco has factored in 14 of TFC's last 18 goals, scoring eight himself and assisting six.
Altidore has been in excellent form, and Tosaint Ricketts has chipped in, but with Chapman also unavailable, Will Johnson, Jonathan Osorio and Tsubasa Endoh will be looked upon to produce.
At least Johnson and Osorio will not risk injury when Canada travels to Honduras and then faces El Salvador in Vancouver over this international window, though Ricketts will be linking up with the Canadian team this week.
It is possible that the recently-arrived Armando Cooper is forced into the lineup sooner rather than later. He has reportedly looked good in training.
For TFC's sake, let it be hoped that three is the limit.