It’s safe to say Toronto FC players have put their fans through another forgettable year.
Sitting dead last in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference with only 24 points to their credit and woeful 4-12-12 record, the Reds face a stern test this Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET) when they travel to Columbus to take on the conference-leading Crew (11-8-7, 40 points).
However, the team believes that having not played since a 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on Aug. 27 will give them the energy boost needed to take three points from the Crew.
“It’s been a lot of games,” said goalkeeper Milos Kocic at training on Monday. “I felt tired the last game we played.”
The team’s starting goalie since Stefan Frei went down with a bruised knee, Kocic said the time off has left him rejuvenated and ready to get back on the pitch.
“It was good to recover after the long trips and a lot of games in a short period of time,” said Kocic about TFC playing seven games in the dog days of July and August. “I feel good now.”
The team is hoping Kocic can steal the show Saturday because with its abysmal road record (0-8-6) this season, a victory against the Crew will prove challenging.
In fact, Toronto has never defeated Columbus in 12 previous outings, going 0-7-5 against the tough squad from Ohio.
The only other meeting between the two teams this season ended in a disappointing 1-1 draw April 23 at Toronto’s BMO Field.
However, the Reds played that game without their latest marquee signing, designated player Danny Koevermans.
The Dutch product made his MLS debut on July 20 and made an immediate impact, scoring three goals in five games, but hasn’t played since Aug. 18 when he went down with a left hamstring injury.
The forward is hopeful he returns to the field this weekend and gets back on the scoreboard.
“We’ll just wait and see, but today’s training went fine,” Koevermans said. “Hopefully I’ll be there Saturday.”
The Reds need both Koevermans and Kocic to have a big games if they stand a chance against Columbus.
Coming into this contest, the club ranked last in goals (26), as well as goals against (49).
Columbus hasn’t scored many more goals than TFC has (31), but it surrendered just 30, which ranks tied for first in the Eastern Conference.