Numbers never lie? Stats show Toronto fare better without all DPs starting

Toronto FC’s three Designated Players have powered the club to new heights since teaming up ahead of the 2015 season. Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore led TFC to their first-ever playoff appearance in 2015, and look set to bag a second-straight post-season berth this year.

But while Giovinco, Bradley and Altidore have helped push Toronto to the two best years in club history, the team hasn’t actually fared that well when all three start. In fact, in the 27 regular-season matches the trio have started together since the start of the 2015 season, Toronto are just 11-12-4 with a zero goal differential.

The team is far better when fewer than three DPs have started, posting a 16-8-10 record with a +11 goal differential when one or two are in the XI. They've gone 1-0-1 with a +1 goal differential when none of the three start.

Bradley and Giovinco have fared particularly well when starting together, with TFC posting a 7-4-3 record with a +10 goal differential in 14 games they've started without Altidore. TFC also have a strong record when Giovinco is the only DP in the starting lineup, going 7-4-2 with a +3 goal differential in 13 games in which the Atomic Ant has been the only starting DP.

A full breakdown of how TFC has fared with various DP combinations in the lineup since the start of 2015 is below: 

DPs in starting lineup
Goal difference
Altidore, Bradley, Giovinco
Altidore, Bradley
Altidore, Giovinco
Bradley, Giovinco
Altidore only
Bradley only
Giovinco only