Let me start off with a disclaimer that yes I am in fact a true Toronto FC supporter. I supported them throughout their historic treble-winning season and watched in awe as they achieved various records and feats. The only caveat I have is that my expectations for the upcoming season aren’t so positive. I mean, how does a team build on a season that included the first ever treble for an MLS team and included a staggering all-time points record (69)?
The short answer? It doesn’t. Going from the three trophies they grabbed in 2017 to the next task of snagging all four in one season is nearly impossible, even for all that is the greatness of TFC. For the optimistic folks lets break down how’d we get there:
1. The Canadian Championship
The 2017 edition of this tournament only had six entrants with just three of them (Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver) of MLS caliber. Needless to say, it’s not exactly a cakewalk but I like my odds in this tournament any year especially when TFC only have to play two or three rounds at most. This is certainly the easiest way to get your hands on some silverware and yes, we can expect Toronto to put forth a full effort in retaining this cup. Just need to avoid any complacency here.
2. Supporters’ Shield
Going rampant in a league that’s built on parity is not going to come easy or often. The huge success in this department was largely in part due to the Reds playing each game like a cup final. Taking nothing for granted and putting in the work during the week led to points coming in game after game.
However, the 2018 campaign will certainly see Toronto with a target on their back as the team to beat. Every team in the league will put up a fight and have their A game on against us. Week in and week out, results will certainly be harder to come by, making this trophy extremely difficult to retain.
3. MLS Cup
In a perfect world we’re halfway there by this point, having secured the Canadian Championship and the Supporter Shield. We’ve seen how fine the margins can be in these playoffs and if you’ve forgotten, please feel free to visit the 2016 final shootout loss or the conference semifinals of 2017, in which TFC squeaked by on away goals.
Games this late in the season come down to individual pieces of brilliance or lapses in concentration. The games can be a coin flip and often the team in better form moves on. Holding form like this over an entire season is difficult enough, but to put forth that extra effort to pull through the playoffs is a much tougher albeit achievable task (see 2017 triumphs).
4. CONCACAF Champions League
Arguably the toughest trophy on the schedule this year. The Champions League represents a different animal and a new format of play for this year’s edition. If the Reds can progress through four knockout rounds (including the final itself) then they can claim this elusive trophy.
Assuming they’ve accomplished all the above, then we’ll have yet another historic season! But the path to this trophy is daunting. They first must pass through a domestic league rival in the form of the Colorado Rapids, then likely onto Tigres of Liga MX and then potentially onto Club America, who just happen to be the most successful team in the competition.
After that it’s the final itself, which is self-explanatory. Although TFC should be considered one of the top teams in this competition, any loss in this tournament wouldn’t necessarily be considered an upset by any means. If you need more info on this, see here.
So there you have it, just navigate through the four competitions above and we’ll be on our way to everlasting glory again, it’s as easy as that. Four trophies in a single season campaign is nearly unheard of (unless you’re Barcelona or Real Madrid). Which leads me to believe hopes of surpassing last year are just that, hopes. But hey, everyone likes an underdog right?