The championship hangover. It exists in every sport, this time around it claimed none other than Toronto FC after a season that went down in the MLS history books.
The party, the fame, the honor of winning the championship is all worth it. But after all the games you’ve already played, it just means there are more to play.
It took eight years. Eight painful years of empty promises, bad decisions, and even poorer football. But those years of pain were quickly forgotten when Michael Bradley hoisted the cup making it official, that Toronto FC had won the MLS Cup.
It was quite the winning season. Writing their names in the record books as the best team in MLS history. But all good things must come to an end; right? When it comes to the winning side from last year, their winning has been put on hold and they look like the teams from the eight miserable years, except they actually have talent.
But even after such an incredible season, the team finds themselves near the basement of the league. It isn’t like the other years where people are talking about the issues surrounding the team and what they need to do. For the most part, it is known that what this team needs, and it is a break.
After winning the MLS Cup, the team would embark on a journey that would take them into playing multiple games a week and boarding multiple flights while chasing the CONCACAF Champions League; desperately trying to become the only MLS team to ever win. (The LA Galaxy won the tournament in 2001 when it was under a different name and format)
TFC wouldn’t disappoint, defeating Mexican clubs Tigres and Club America before losing on penalties to Guadalajara in the final. They showed that they weren’t just built for the MLS, but instead to compete at the highest level they could.
It came with sacrifice, however. The team would start the year very slow and have struggled to snap out of their funk. Their superstar Sebastian Giovinco has been quiet only hitting the back of the net four times in 15 games. It hasn’t helped that Giovinco has been without his partner up top Jozy Altidore for most of the season due to injury. Altidore appeared in three games this year and has two goals.
At this point, it is still very possible they make the playoffs and from there anything is possible, but it is going to be quite the climb. Sitting in second last ahead of D.C. United who have four games in hand, TFC is just eight points behind their rivals the Montreal Impact for the final playoff spot. Not to mention they sit tied for third last in the entire league.
The next two months will be crucial for Toronto. There is no need for panic. There is lots of talent that for the most part hasn’t shown up for most of the season but there is time. Patience is needed. Not eight years worth, but in at least another month we will see if this team can find their stride once again.