By Ian L. (@ahandleforian)
xN is our weekly look at what you can expect to read, write, and discuss about Major League Soccer this week. We take a look at each prospective narrative and rate it based on its strength and whether or not it has any actual merit.
Last week, I asserted that if Toronto failed to secure three points this week that the talk of the league would be whether or not last year’s all conquering heroes would even manage to make the playoffs this season. Unsurprisingly, they failed to acquire those three points, surprisingly nobody is really talking about it all that much. Well, since I’m CNO (Chief Narrative Officer) of this league now (self appointed, the term is lifelong meaning it remains until such a time as I die or get bored. Smart money on the latter.), I’m going to go ahead and make it a narrative because a) it’s important and b) I can’t really think of another thing to write about this week. I mean I guess we could cover VAR again, but NAH.
Narrative: Toronto is going to miss the playoffs
Narrative Strength: As strong as I care to make it
Narrative Accuracy: American D+ (Canadian B-)
Surely, it’s inconceivable. Last year Toronto won a treble (of sorts) and managed to set an all time MLS record for points and goals in a season. This year the team got, seemingly not at all worse and possibly even better depending on how you feel about Ager Atexe, Gregory Van der Wiel, and Auro. And yet…
If there were a large group of MLS Narrative analyzers and we were to start a band, that band’s name would be “X10uating Circumstances” Get it? Never mind. Anyway, my point is that there are so many dang circumstances working against Toronto this season. Firstly, the usual suspect:
We talked about this some when we were doing the same sort of pretopsy (I just made this word up, it means an autopsy done ahead of time which is actually quite gross and dark but too late now) of Seattle. Toronto’s injury list is also problematic to say the least:
(as of 5/30)
Jozy’s absence is obviously unfortunate for Toronto, but Tosaint Ricketts has actually done quite well in his stead. Although we’ve only seen him for 375 minutes, he’s averaging a more than respectable 0.80 xG+xA per 96 from open play (i.e. excluding Penalties and Free Kicks). Let’s see how that stacks up in the Torontoverse:
|Season||Min||Run of play xG+xA per96|