Well, rip this season into pieces. Toronto FC have been officially eliminated from playoff contention after losing 2-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps at BMO Field on Saturday. Despite a faint glimmer of hope when Jozy Altidore scored a second-half penalty to level the score, the Reds’ defence ultimately let them down again as they allowed Kei Kamara to put Vancouver back in front shortly after.
With the Montreal Impact’s 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew this afternoon, TFC are now 10 points out of a playoff spot with just three games (and a possible nine points) left on the schedule. All they have left to play for is pride.
It was a tough one from the get-go, as the Whitecaps struck within the first five minutes. Things got worse when Gregory van der Wiel was sent off in the second half. It was an overcast, gloomy afternoon in Toronto, which pretty much reflected the mood of the sparse crowd inside BMO Field.
Here we are again.
79’ Toronto FC 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps — This season is comical. This team is bad.
72’ Toronto FC 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps — Maybe we should keep watching? Jay Chapman wins a penalty as Doneil Henry gets called for a handball in the box. Jozy Altidore steps up and puts it just to the right of centre, with Marinovic diving the opposite way. Tie game.
70’ — Good ol’ Nicky Hagglund is coming in to try and score some more of those last-minute headed goals. He replaces Victor Vazquez.
66’ — There goes van der Wiel. He hip checks Reyna on the edge of the box and gets a second yellow card. That adds further insult to injury for the Reds.
63’ — Here comes Jay Chapman, in to replace Lucas Janson (who goes straight down the tunnel).
58’ — Jozy Altidore is coming into the game for Marky Delgado as TFC go all-in to try and save themselves.
54’ — A great chance for Toronto as Auro steps past two Vancouver defenders, giving himself a clear shot at goal, but he puts the ball straight into Marinovic on the ground. The second shot from Vazquez is deflected away by a defender.
53’ — TFC looked like they’d been sprung on a dangerous counter attack, but Victor Vazquez held on to the ball just a moment too long, and Giovinco’s run was just a little too wide as his shot hit the side of the net.
46’ — Back at it. Just 45 minutes to save the season.
HT — The Reds take a deficit into the dressing room. One half is all that’s left for TFC to salvage their last glimmer of hope.
45+ — Chris Mavinga picks up a yellow card for a professional foul near the TFC box. A little harsh, but not completely unjustified.
41’ — Sebastian Giovinco goes for goal from a corner, comes fairly close. It pops back out to him at the edge of the box, and he goes for it again. Once again, denied close to the back post. The ball pops out to Michael Bradley, who hammers it goalward, but Stefan Marinovic makes a pretty great save to preserve the ‘Caps lead.
34’ — A few good movements from TFC around the area, but nothing comes to fruition. It looked for a second like Kei Kamara might spring a counter, but excellent hustle from Michael Bradley tracks him down and recovers the ball for Toronto. The Reds win a free kick 35 yards out and Aly Ghazal gets a yellow card.
29’ — Update: apparently van der Wiel was arguing with Giovinco on that last play. Bradley and Vazquez stepped in to calm things down. Not sure what that was about...
28’ — Gregory van der Wiel is pissed after putting a huge body check in on Yordy Reyna and getting a yellow card for it. Reyna and Davies were looking lethal on the counter though, so van der Wiel and Auro probably needed to concede the fouls they did.
26’ — Giovinco puts a volley toward goal but misses as Victor Vazquez set him up quite nicely. The chances are coming for TFC now; can they capitalize before halftime?
11’ — Lucas Janson misses a sitter on a good cross from Justin Morrow. That’s a tough one to give away.
4’ Toronto FC 0-1 Vancouver Whitecaps — lol Russell Teibert scored his first goal since 2013.
1’ — Kickoff! TFC kick off toward the north end, just like they wanted.
Toronto FC are going with a pretty strong XI this afternoon:
Bench: Irwin, Morgan, Hagglund, Zavaleta, Chapman, Bakero, Altidore
And the visitors:
The Reds sit seven points out of sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Anything short of a win would pretty much finish off TFC, especially if the Montreal Impact are able to beat the Columbus Crew today.
As for Vancouver, the ‘Caps are six points back of Real Salt Lake (with a game in hand). They can’t technically be eliminated this weekend, but a loss to TFC and an RSL win over the Portland Timbers would pretty much finish them off.
So, scoreboard watching aside, this could be a fairly heated Canadian matchup. The Whitecaps will at the very least be hoping to avenge their 5-2 embarrassment last time they played at BMO Field, when TFC lifted the Voyageurs Cup for the third time in a row. They’ll also want to show well for interim manager Craig Dalrymple, who took over last week after Carl Robinson was sacked. The Dalrymple era began with a 3-0 loss to the LA Galaxy, so Vancouver will be motivated to do better than that this time around.
TFC are hanging onto hope as well, especially with upcoming games on the schedule against both D.C. United and Montreal — winning today as well as both of those would genuinely shake things up. Still, that hope is incredibly thin.
Anyway, regardless of standing, we should be set for a cracker of a match this afternoon. Neither team is particularly able to defend, but both sides have some electric attacking players. Toronto will have a Sebastian Giovinco fresh off the motivating news of his Italian national team call-up. The ‘Caps have the always-entertaining Alphonso Davies (who’ll be back at BMO in just over a week to play for Canada).
This is it for TFC. They have to win. Anything short of that, and we can probably pack it in. Can they do that?
Team news: injuries & suspensions
Toronto FC: The only injury listed by MLSsoccer.com is Jozy Altidore, who left the game fairly early last weekend against the New England Revolution. It’s kind of hard to believe Drew Moor will be fit to start, though (it’s seeming more and more like he’s just going to be shut down for the season). Auro should be good to go again, though, which will be a huge boon to the Reds’ right side in attack.
Vancouver Whitecaps: Defender Brett Levis (quad) will miss out, and fellow defender Aaron Maund (hip flexor) is listed as questionable. Backup goalkeeper Brian Rowe (back) is also apparently questionable. Cristian Techera looks to be suspended for this match due to yellow card accumulation.
How to watch
Match date/time: Saturday, October 6, 5 p.m. ET
TV channel: TSN 1 & 4
Live stream: TSN GO
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto)