Home MLS Toronto FC By the numbers: Putting TFC’s BMO Field winless streak in perspective

By the numbers: Putting TFC’s BMO Field winless streak in perspective


With Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to New York, it is now over a year since Toronto FC has won a league match at BMO Field at home. It’s a fortress all right — for the opposition.

TFC’s last BMO Field win came on July 18, 2012, over Colorado. The team played its next home game on July 28, 2012, losing to Houston, launching the BMO Field winless skid. Sure, the record books will record that TFC won a home game in early March; but that triumph over Sporting Kansas City took place in the climate-controlled confines of the Rogers Centre. In terms of BMO Field (lack of) success, the clock is still running.

So, how does this compare to other home winless droughts? In other leagues? In other team sports?

Comparing Toronto FC’s BMO Field-winless run to soccer clubs in other parts of the world is difficult. That’s because the majority of the world’s other soccer leagues have some sorts of promotion-relegation systems. So, if a team is bad enough to lose or draw all of its home games over a year, it will go down. And once it gets down to a lower league, it will start winning games again when it faces lesser competition.

Still, there are some fairly modern parallels. Just this past season, SpVgg Greuther Furth lost or drew all of its Bundesliga home matches in 2012-13. Ironically, all four of the triumphs recorded this past campaign by Olivier Occean’s former team came on the road. Greuther Furth was the Cinderella promotion team the season before; but it was ill-equipped to battle the likes of Bayern Munich or Dortmund. Heck, it was ill-equipped for Hoffenheim.

Derby County fans almost endured a full year of home misery. On Sept. 29, 2007, Derby drew Bolton 1-1 at home, a week after getting hammered by Arsenal on the road. That draw began a home winless streak that lasted the rest of the Premiership season. Derby were relegated to the League Championship and, while the Rams did win some League Cup matches in the interim, the home field didn’t see another League victory until Sept. 13, 2008, when Sheffield United fell.

When it comes to football, the kind played with down and yard markers, the longest home drought belongs to the Baltimore Colts. The Colts, were member of the All-America Football Conference, a rival pro league to the NFL in the post-Second World War era. After a 7-7 regular season, the Colts had a home playoff game to the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 12, 1948. Buffalo won that game, 28-17. The Colts then went winless at home through the 1949 AAFC regula season. In 1950, the surviving AAFC teams merged into the NFL. The Colts would later becomes an NFL powerhouse, but in 1950 the team took its lumps. It lost its first three home games. Finally, on Nov. 5, 1950, nearly two years since its last home win, the Colts beat the Green Bay Packers 41-21. It wasn’t as if this was a clash of the titans. The Colts finished the year 1-11, Green Bay, 3-9.

Other North American team sports are harder to compare to soccer; baseball, basketball and hockey games are more frequent, so a long winless streak still might only take up two or three weeks of time.

The longest losing streak in Major League Baseball history belongs to the ’61 Philadelphia Phillies, who lost 23 in a row over three-and-a-half weeks. But 17 of those games came on the road. A slightly better comparison is the 1988 Baltimore Orioles, who lost 21 games in a row to start the season, eight of them at home.

In 1974-75, the NHL’s Washington Capitals lost 17 in a row, and 10 of those came at home. But, that took up just a month of time. The longest NBA home losing streak belongs to the 1993-94 Dallas Mavericks, who dropped 19 in a row in the Big D. That losing streak saw two and a half months go by without a win at home.

Of course, all of these examples are cold comfort to TFC supporters, who can hope their team can break the streak next Saturday, when it hosts Columbus.

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One Comment

  1. BT

    July 23, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Ok. TFC are bad. Not actually listing a number of games played during this league streak does not provide much perspective re other teams or sports

    But, why are you fixated on such a narrow view? Is one league win at home not a story so you need to exclude it? Was Montreal not trying when they lost at BMO in April? ( cup game )

    Their futility is not put in perspective when you put so many qualifications on a ‘streak’ which makes even the notion of your defined narrow streak useless.

    They are bad. Why? It might be too hard to write or you might not have any ideas but surely you can do better

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