Four games, four points.
While they are hardly world-beating numbers, Toronto FC's start to the 2013 season is already leaps and bounds ahead of last year's disastrous opening third of the campaign, where the team limped out of the gates to an 0-9 record and prompted striker Danny Koevermans to famously lament his inclusion on "the worst team in the world."
The injured Dutchman has been forced to watch from the sidelines as the revamped Reds battled on in his absence, and though he hasn't been near a camera or voice recorder during his recovery, one would imagine that he'd have an improved outlook on TFC so far this year.
The fact of the matter is Toronto has been decidedly average through it's first four games. Maybe even slightly worse than average, if the early standings are anything to go by.
At 1-2-1 (W-L-D), TFC currently sits in seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Reds are one point behind the New York Red Bulls (who have played one more game), and two points behind Philadelphia, which holds the final playoff spot.
Of course it's far too early to even consider the postseason, but at the same junction in 2012, TFC had already all but kissed its playoff aspirations goodbye. Realistically, the move up to where Toronto wants to be from where it has historically been will involve stops in mediocrity and average before it can even think about being good.
TFC is, as it stands, a slightly worse than average MLS team, and -- given the starting point -- that's not a bad thing. Especially when considering the kind of competition the Reds have been facing to begin their hopeful transformation.
"We have to put into perspective who we're playing," head coach Ryan Nelsen told reporters after training on Tuesday. "The first five games of our season are against top 10 teams, so it's a good kind of evaluation to see where we are."
Indeed, TFC has faced an unexpectedly tough opening set of matches in March and has come out looking relatively okay. The month of April promises more challenges, as Toronto faces a surprisingly good FC Dallas side, followed by a trip to Philly, and then a pair of home dates against Houston and New York, respectively.
It all adds up to a pretty harrowing first couple of months on the job for Nelsen, but if he can get his team relatively unscathed through the end of April, the schedule looks to be a lot kinder for late spring and early summer.
WHO STAYS AND WHO GOES WHEN THE CAVALRY ARRIVES?
- Sports & Recreation
- Toronto FC
- Danny Koevermans