TORONTO – It’s been an odd season in Toronto.
The club has lost all nine of its MLS games so far this year, a record which unsurprisingly places them at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
But outside of the league, TFC have reached the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League by defeating the reigning MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy, and on Wednesday became Canadian champions for the fourth year in a row by defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 at BMO Field.
“You lose nine games and all of a sudden you’re a champion,” goalkeeper Milos Kocic said after the game. “It’s kind of like a different mentality in the locker room right now. You can hear everybody’s happy, everybody’s laughing. We need to celebrate, we need to feel happy inside.”
And then they need to start improving their 0-9-0 record in MLS. The Reds may have their best chance yet this season of earning points when they host the struggling Philadelphia Union on Saturday (4:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). Piotr Nowak's outfit is 2-6-2 in league play, having scored just eight goals in 10 games.
By way of comparison, Toronto just shut out a Whitecaps team that is 5-3-3 on the year and fourth in the Western Conference.
“You need to feel good about this kind of stuff because we haven’t won too many games this year,” Kocic said. “I think this is a good beginning for us. We can take it as a positive and bring it to the next game.
“There’s always a way to turn your season around and I think this is a beginning of it… I hope we realize that this is a great turning point for us,”
Toronto began their Amway Canadian Championship campaign with a 0-0 draw against the Montreal Impact at the Stade Olympique. In their home leg, however, the Reds put up a 2-0 victory, before traveling to BC Place and earning a 1-1 tie.
“We earned it,” Kocic said of the Voyageurs Cup. “We played very well, we conceded only one goal in the whole tournament. We proved we can actually do something positive this year. We looked like a team. We worked for each other.”
Head coach and technical director Aron Winter agreed that this could be where Toronto’s season turns for the better.
“I think it could make a difference,” Winter said. “Why? Because we have played nine games in the MLS and you have got zero points and at a certain moment it is important to play good, to win games.
“I think the confidence is going to continue to grow more for the players because we have demonstrated that we can play football that we want to play football and also good football.”