Toronto FC’s playoff ambition: a look at the math

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A quick follow-up to the last post, regarding Aron Winter’s bold assertion that Toronto will make the MLS playoffs – which would be a first for the franchise, by the way:

It’s a long season, of course. Plus, TFC has played one or two games fewer than some Eastern Conference sides. So, mathematically, there’s certainly hope.

But TFC will be one-fifth through its season schedule by this weekend, and the last-place Reds already risk falling hopelessly behind.

Sporting Kansas City is running away with the East crown – and I see zero cause to believe at this point that anyone can challenge Peter Vermes’ well-constructed team.

That leaves four spots available for nine teams.

Houston is well-positioned, managing its slew of early road matches with aplomb. D.C. United shows signs of good things ahead. New York has enough attacking muscle to see it through the spring – and you have to believe defensive help is en route in the summer.

Chicago remains a mystery, appearing to be up for a playoff run, but still needing to prove it.

New England, Columbus and Philadelphia? Could go either way.

So where does that leave Toronto, a team already saddled with the league’s worst goal difference at minus-9?

All conjecture aside, the math looks increasingly difficult. It took 46 points to make the 2011 playoffs.

Toronto has 28 matches to reach that number, or something thereabouts. Assuming TFC doesn’t pull all three points out of Utah this weekend against Real Salt Lake (unlikely) …

That means TFC must generate a record of somewhere around 14-9-4 or 13-8-6 over its remaining 27 matches.

Impossible? Certainly not.

Likely? No. And certainly not unless Winter and Co. finds some quality defenders, a better midfield order and a formation that fits the personnel. And fast!