Never mind the names.

After every poor Toronto FC performance—and their 3-3 draw with the Montreal Impact last night was by no means “poor” in the sense of what we’ve seen in the past from the Reds—fans commiserate by trading names.

“Well, at least Jeremy Brockie looks like he’s legit.”

“Thank god for Steven Caldwell, amirite?”

“O’Dea is terrible, but at least he’s trying. Nice goal.”

It’s perfectly acceptable to praise/criticize players after an individual performance, but the name-talk has led to some skewed thinking from the TFC faithful: consistently maintaining the club a few guys away from being a good overall unit.

The problem with assessing players after a couple of games involves regression to the mean. Some guys are going to have good nights, maybe even a couple of good nights. Other guys are going to suck for a bit and then play okay, maybe even great once or twice. A lot of this is just noise; what matters are there career numbers, which should ideally reflect a level of consistency above your average journeyman player. If Toronto isn’t acquiring guys like that, they’re not going to do much better than they are now over the course of a whole season.

If you’re going to look at sign posts, check career stats, not single good performances. And if you’re going to assess the health of Toronto FC as a club, there are any number of sign posts. The club has scored 17 goals and conceded 24. Not terrible, but by MLS standards this season, not great. Have they been affected by bad luck?

I don’t have accurate MLS shot statistics, but extrapolating from whoscored data, we can roughly surmise that Toronto FC’s PDO is ~991. So, near enough to the mean that we can’t say the team is suffering from some bad luck this season. Their TSR is .434. Using this metric is dangerously preliminary as we don’t really know with confidence how TSR correlates to table finish in MLS, but in a European league, this would be fairly mediocre. Based on shots taken and shots conceded, Toronto is where it should be.

Can a few good players change that around? Of course, pending some intelligent coaching. But those players can’t be acquired based on a good feeling, but with sensitive, forward thinking scouting that ensures the team won’t be waiving them along as soon as they arrive. If that’s happening at Toronto FC, I haven’t seen the evidence.

Comments (11)

  1. …So Stop Writing About It.

    toronto = jays suck, leafs suck, tfc suck, raptors suck, argo’s suck…what else? Don’t think there’s another city on the planet with so many terrible, awful sports teams.

    Your toronto bias is showing. Not a single word or story about Vancouver’s performances over on the west coast. Canada’s footballing hopes and dreams lie in Montreal and in Vancouver…toronto is a garbage dump for young talent.

    • a wednesday night game had over 21k fans so not quite true.

      I don’t care where you are from or what teams you support, there are numerous reasons why we shouldn’t bother with your team either (they suck or they are just followed by posers, what ever).

      however, this station is rooted in Toronto, (new names for the telli version) there are tonnes of fans (yup may be suckers, but it’s local footy) and the team is providing more input to the Canadian national team than any other. We’ve asked for more local coverage many times here and it isn’t plentiful so give us the few articles here and there.

      have a nice-ish day.

    • Last year Ben Massey wrote semi-regular articles about the MLS and the Caps in particular. I think I was one of the few who ever commented on them. This suggests a lack of interest and is probably why there aren’t many stories about the Caps or MLS this year. There are many other sites from which to get local content so I am not too fussed.

      On the other hand, I find myself reading this site less and less since it seems to have evolved from a general soccer news site with some decent opinion columns to a site with a few decent opinion columns and an endless series of blather about analytics and a strange obsession with the New York Cosmos. To each his own I suppose.

      • This site has become garbage for footy.

        Trolling on good quality material is fun…like the good ol’ days

        Trolling on crap material that poses as ‘good’ is boring. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

        • You could always just not troll, and if you don’t like it, stop visiting. Just an idea.

          • I can’t though, you don’t get it.

            I am this blog’s biggest fan. If I leave, this blog will have no one.

      • “Strange obsession with the New York Cosmos.” Wat.

        • It’s true.

          Every few or so weeks there’s a random post about the cosmos…ALWAYS. Like why.

          It’s usually trying to make some financial statement but in the end turns out as a waste of space on the internet lol.

  2. The Argos did recently win the Grey Cup but whatever. 1 out of 5 isn’t great.

    As for Montreal and Vancouver being the hopes of Canadian football, I am no expert by any means so someone with more wisdom may enlighten me on the matter, but their teams don’t seem to be brimming with Canadian talent, much like Toronto.

  3. Good points Richard. good advice for all fans.

  4. This is a blog, I think some regional bias is forgiven. If you want boring analysis go somewhere else.

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