Sober Second Thoughts: Half empty? Half full? Yes!
Montreal is a mess and the Whitecaps played a game too.
Welcome to the first MLS Canadian round-up of the year. We will follow-up with a CanPL look towards the end of the week. Each week, you will get one of the three Canadian MLS teams for free, while the other two Sober Second Thoughts columns will be behind he paywall. We will rotate the free team, starting with TFC today.
One man’s undefeated streak is another’s winless
Honestly, what do you do with that?
Over my 14 years covering this team, I can’t remember a season where I had less of a clear vision on what the group was this many games into the season. There have been teams that I knew were great and more that I knew were crap. There’s even been a couple that you could hang the mediocre tag on and know that was what you were going to get.
This, however? The six games undefeated, but only one win in that stretch purgatory that is TFC 2023?
No, I don’t recall that happening before. The thing about TFC right now is that you can find proof for whatever version of truth that you want/think they are.
If you think that they are bad, you can point to their inability to hold a lead, the lack of chance creation and dropped points at home.
If you think that they are good, you look at the injuries and rightly point out that they haven’t played a first choice line-up for more than 30 minutes total all year. Despite that, they are finding results and staying in touch.
Get healthy and win a couple on the trot and they are right back in the conversation for a top half finish.
This weekend’s game fits the mystery narrative too. Positives: Ritchie, Insigne played and they tied it on the final kick
Negatives: They don’t have a No 9, Bradley didn’t and they were trailing until the final kick.
I tend to lean towards the positive. Largely because the return of Insigne is the most significant factor of all those listed above.
MLS is a league that is all about the Recency Bias. It’s unpredictability makes those who analyse the league overly influenced by things that just happened. That manifests itself here with most observers basically forgetting that Insigne plays for TFC and that he’s really good.
When you ignore that it’s easy to also ignore that Toronto’s start has to be evaluated with the knowledge that their highest paid player basically hasn’t played.
He did for 20 minutes on Saturday and he made a difference. Imagine if he can stay healthy.
So, yeah: damn right they are six games undefeated.
CF Montreal: L’enterrement de crapaud
The rest of today’s Canadian round-up is available to paid subscribers and at Patreon only.