Making sense of Toronto FC’s slow start to the MLS season

Toronto FC head coach Chris Armas. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto FC head coach Chris Armas. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports /

It has been a curious start to the season for Toronto FC, who had some good performances in the CONCACAF Champions League only to see their form in MLS suffer.

So far this year, Toronto FC is 0-1-2 (1 point), having seen their best performances come in the Round of 16 of the CONCACAF Champions League where they beat Mexican club Leon 3-2 on aggregate. And it wasn’t just a good result for TFC in the tournament but rather they played well against one of the biggest clubs in Mexico.

The latest setback for Toronto FC in league play came this weekend in a 2-0 road loss at the New York Red Bulls. They struggled in the match, looking disjointed and overwhelmed at certain moments.

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Saying there is “disappointment,” TFC head coach Chris Armas said that the message is “on to the next one.”

“In 2021, this is a new team. This is a new team with a different chemistry and different players and we are not sneaking up on anyone, we’re not. When teams play TFC, they are playing the champions. They know this team is built on success. So in a league where the margins are thin, we have to be at our best, we have to carry our weight, we have to be up for it every single time no matter what – altitude, heat, short rest, whatever that is,” Armas told reporters after the match.

“There’s a feeling on the inside that we’re giving away some games. We’re becoming closer all the time and moments like this, as the guys say, will bring us together.”

Now the good news – which is mixed with bad news – is that Toronto FC can now focus solely on league play for the time being. Last week, they lost in the Champions League quarterfinals to Cruz Azul over two legs.

Now, for a little perspective on this winless start to the season…TFC has certainly struggled so far this year with fixture congestion but also with injuries. On Saturday in New Jersey against the Red Bulls, Armas’ side was without the likes of Jonathan Osorio, Jozy Altidore Pozuelo, who won the league’s MVP in 2020.

In addition, recent signing Yeferson Soteldo, a Venezuelan international, came off the bench last week and will need time to integrate. New signing Kemar Lawrence, a Jamaican international who was last with Anderlecht, was not ready to join Toronto FC this past weekend as his signing was just made official late last week.

Follow Kristian Dyer of ‘MLS Multiplex‘ on Twitter @KristianRDyer