On Saturday, October 6th, Toronto FC faced a brutal reality check as their hopes to win the MLS Cup again this year, were absolutely shattered. With a heart full of frustration, anger and embarrassment, the reigning champions had to walk out of the MLS Cup playoffs with a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. It was evident from the neck and neck competition that the Reds very well knew that they had to win the match in order to keep their hopes alive. Earlier that day the Montreal Impact had filled up the sixth and the final post season spot by defeating the Columbus Crew 3-0 in the Eastern Conference. This meant a huge pressure on Toronto FC as they faced the men in white with everything they got, hitting the target 18 times while the Whitecaps had put up only seven shots.
The game began rough for the Reds as the Whitecaps midfielder Russell Tiebert scored a cracker in the fourth minute leaving the Reds in shock. The pace of the game gradually grew along with the number of tackles and fouls, when defender Gregory van der Wiel was presented with two yellow cards one after other sending him off the field thus lowering the team strength even further. Despite playing with 10 players, Toronto FC soon found a golden opportunity when presented with a penalty. The substitute Jozy Altidore, stepped up to the occasion and make the teams come to a tie with a sweet shot.
Not long after the penalty, the Reds seemed to become unstable and at the 78th minute the Toronto defence completely collapsed down and conceded a goal. This time it was the Vancouver’s striker Kei Kamara who had scored and successfully demolished any hopes the Reds had held till that moment.
Toronto FC now stands eliminated from the playoffs with three games to play. The team which had been bringing so much joy to its fans for the past two years are now short of expectations. In 2017, Toronto FC had a tremendous season and also reached the finale of the CONCACAF Champions League. On asking what had been the cause of such a change in the chemistry of the team this year, comments were received from the American striker that there is a persisting injury in the ankle that needs to heal and that the condition was out of his hands. The team would be focusing on not repeating this year’s mistakes in the next year’s League and would try eliminating all the reasons they were let down this year.