By this point, it's safe to say that Toronto FC's 2018 MLS regular season has not gone according to plan. After a difficult opening to the campaign, with the Concacaf Champions League running alongside the opening of the season, a convergence of factors (run to the CCL final, injuries, and a lack of form) have left TFC in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, 11 points below the playoff line with 15 games to go.
On Thursday, Toronto GM Tim Bezbatchenko insisted, "everyone in this building believes" TFC can make the playoffs. Is that still realistic at this point?
Do you believe Toronto FC can make the playoffs in 2018?
BOEHM: I do believe in TFC, generally speaking: It's still a well-run organization that's built a fundamentally good team. They'll probably defend their Canadian Championship trophy – which is key, because it can get them back into Concacaf Champions League – and be back in the league's elite come 2019. But for a variety of reasons, they've dug too deep a hole to make the playoffs this year. Sorry, Bez.
COUCH: Everyone in that building should believe that. Until they're mathematically eliminated. Which will be sooner than later, unfortunately. Just because all the elements are there doesn't mean they come together. Worst case scenarios are still scenarios. This is one of them.
DOYLE: I mean, just parse what he said: "Everyone in this building believes we can make the playoffs." That's technically correct – which in some places is the best kind of correct. But he didn't say "everyone in this building believes we will make the playoffs," because it's just no longer plausible at this point. They're 11 points back, they have 15 games left, and six of those are against the five best teams in the league (NYCFC, RBNY, Atlanta, LAFC, Portland).
Do I believe it can happen? Sure, just like Bez. Do I believe it will? Nah (and I'm guessing Bez & Co. feel that way as well).
RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I don't believe it's going to happen. Most notably, even the players on the field this season just don't seem to be able to play anywhere near their 2017 level, and it's showing in the results.
ROSANO: Methinks the cavalry is coming a little too late to save TFC's playoff hopes. Best to focus – at this point – on their Canadian Championship defense, if this CCL hangover hasn't turned them off the concept entirely.
WARSHAW: If you were to tell me their lineup from last year would be healthy this weekend, then I would take that group to put up the necessary 1.8 points per game for the rest of the season. But we don’t know when that lineup will be fit or sharp, so I need to take the under.