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Toronto FC’s Nick Hagglund out for up to two months with MCL sprain

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The defender has already missed time this season with an injury to the same knee.

MLS: Toronto FC at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It turns out not everything that came out of this weekend’s 4-1 win over the Portland Timbers is good news for Toronto FC. The club announced today that defender Nick Hagglund has suffered a left MCL sprain and will miss six to eight weeks of action.

The 24-year-old centre-back has already missed significant time when that same MCL was torn in mid-May. He has been limited to just 15 games so far this season as a result, with the match against Portland just his second start since he returned from that original injury.

Hagglund suffered his latest injury during the first half against Portland. He had made an impressive sliding challenge to stop a Portland attack but fell awkwardly on his knee in the process.

No injury is a positive, but the timing of Hagglund’s MCL troubles couldn’t be worse. Ever since Toronto switched to a 3-5-2 formation, Hagglund has been one of the team’s best defenders and has earned a starting spot after spending the past two seasons as mostly a depth option.

His athleticism has been a huge aid to the Toronto back line - particularly in the air, where he is dominant at both ends of the field. He has been leading the club in several defensive metrics this season.

The best-case scenario for Hagglund is that he is healthy and able to return for the MLS Cup playoffs. However, by that point it will be fairly tough for him to break back into the starting lineup given how well new signing Chris Mavinga has played alongside the consistent Drew Moor and Eriq Zavaleta.

Hagglund joins Benoit Cheyrou and Steven Beitashour on the list of Toronto players who are out of commission, though Beitashour is expected to be back in contention in the coming days. In his absence, Jason Hernandez, who has been solid when called upon, is likely to get a few more games having played only six so far this year.