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Despite high hopes for this season, Toronto FC faces playoff elimination

FC Dallas v Chivas USA

CARSON, CA - JUNE 18: Assistant Coach Greg Vanney of Chivas USA looks on after their MLS match against FC Dallas at The Home Depot Center on June 18, 2011 in Carson, California. Dallas defeated Chivas USA 2-1. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

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Toronto FC made a splash in MLS this offseason when they signed two skilled Designated Players, Jermain Defoe from Tottenham Hotspur and U.S. international Michael Bradley from AS Roma.

Both of these players were supposed to serve as the core of the Reds’ attack, which was hoped to propel Toronto to the top of the Eastern Conference table to contend for an MLS Cup.

However, this season hasn’t worked out in such a positive favor. Injuries and inconsistent play have plagued the Canadian club, highlighted by incumbent manager Greg Vanney receiving a floundering team following the midseason firing of Ryan Nelson.

Toronto’s current manager hasn’t reverse his side’s form for the best, gathering a 2-5-1 record since he took the reigns, and he admits that their talent just hasn’t panned out as expected.

“I think we have the makings of a team that is definitely playoff caliber,” Vanney said, per “It’s easy at the beginning of the year when you make some big signings and then, on paper, you look at things and go, ‘Oh yeah, this is a playoff team.’ But there’s so many things that happen over the course of those eight to nine months that actually make up the body of work that is a season.”

With Toronto sitting at sixth place in the East’s standings, six points back from the Columbus Crew (46 pts.) in the final playoff position, the Reds must win their last two games to have any chance of breaking into the postseason.

Following a 3-1 loss against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, Toronto will have a very winnable match against the Montreal Impact next week, but their last contest of the season will come against the in-form New England Revolution.

Vanney may notice that the end is near in 2014, adding that his team just didn’t have specific features that ultimately create a successful MLS squad.

“The only formula for success in MLS, honestly, is continuity and stability with a core group of players,” he continued. “When you look around at all the teams that have been successful, there’s continuity, stability and a core group of players. You can look at the RSLs of the world, the Galaxy, any team that has been successful, it’s been because there’s been a core group of players that have been together and understand how to get results in this yearly grind that this league is all about.”