Winless over its last four MLS matches and losers of three consecutive, Toronto FC’s challenges only appear to be getting bigger with a trip to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
Toronto is next to last in the Eastern Conference with just 15 points in 17 games and has won just twice since May 9. Sporting KC, on the other hand, is second in the Western Conference with 32 points and is 6-1-2 at home this season.
Yet this could still be a time for Toronto FC to pounce. Sporting KC is coming off consecutive road defeats at Montreal and Real Salt Lake. It is the first time Sporting KC has lost consecutive matches this season.
“The positive is that we’re only halfway done (with the season),” frustrated Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley said after a 4-3 defeat to Minnesota United on Wednesday. “For as poor as we have been for 17 games, we have 17 games to go after things and to put it right. That’s all there is to it.”
Despite the struggles, Toronto FC will not sneak into Kansas City this weekend as a wounded squad. That’s not how it works when you are the defending MLS Cup champion and Supporters’ Shield winner.
And it will not help the Reds that SKC still is smarting after its most recent defeat. Sporting KC led 1-0 at Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, but fell behind 3-1 by halftime in the eventual defeat.
“We shouldn’t have given up two goals in the first half (at RSL) and then the third just killed us,” head coach Peter Vermes said afterward on the Fox Sports Kansas City broadcast. “You can’t come back from deficits like that all the time.”
Toronto FC continues to be hampered by injuries, adding to its challenges. Players that are out include forward Jozy Altidore (foot), defenders Drew Moor (quadriceps), Chris Mavinga (hamstring), Auro (hamstring) and Jason Hernandez (hamstring), goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell (elbow) and midfielder Victor Hernandez (knee).
Sporting KC will be without midfielders Felipe Gutierrez (sports hernia), Cristian Lobato (knee), and Gianluca Busio (hamstring) and defender Jimmy Medranda (knee). Defender Amer Didic (hamstring) is questionable.
—Field Level Media