Toronto FC face steep climb as they cross midpoint of MLS regular season

In Minnesota on Wednesday, Toronto FC dropped points. Again. The team that less than a year ago could legitimately stake claim to status as the best in MLS history, current holders of a domestic treble, now sit on 15 points -- 10th in the Eastern Conference, just four points up on cellar-dwelling D.C. United.

But half the regular-season slate remains, and Toronto have eight home games paired with nine on the road to collect the minimum 42 points it's taken to reach the postseason in each of the last three MLS seasons. That number -- truly closer to 46, 50 to be safe -- means picking up results at a pace approaching, if not better than, 2.0 per match. That rate, which Toronto surpassed last season (69 points; 2.03 PPG) is rare territory for MLS teams, with only Atlanta and FC Dallas this season also nearing the mark.

They've scored at a reasonable rate, tallying 27 goals (T-10) but have allowed 34 (T-19). Injuries, in particular along the back line, have devastated any chance at continuity, with a rotating cast of who's capable of maybe playing center back shifting through the open slots, including Michael Bradley and any number of usual outside backs.

That Toronto, who went 13-1-3 at BMO Field in 2017, are 3-4-2 in 2018 doesn't bode well. Even assuming they take roughly two-thirds of the available home points, that's 15. They're going to have to nearly match the mark on the road, with tough matches left against the likes of Sporting KC, Atlanta, Portland and RBNY. Though several SKC players earned single-game suspensions on Wednesday, that match will only represent the opening salvo in any comeback attempt. Four teams and eight points separate the Six from the sixth seed. Time to close is running short.

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