Following Toronto FC's win last weekend, captain Michael Bradley made a rather bold statement.
"We feel like we have the best team in the league," he said, adding that he didn't mean just the starting 11, but all the way down Toronto's deep roster.
So let's look at the facts: The busy Reds are riding a five-match winning streak after Wednesday night's 2-1 victory over Columbus. It is the longest winning streak in club history.
They had previously downed the Seattle Sounders, the team that bested them in the MLS Cup final last season on penalties after a scoreless draw. Jozy Altidore, who leads the Reds with six goals this season, scored on a penalty kick in the 23rd minute for the 1-0 win Saturday at CenturyLink Field.
It followed a 2-1 victory over Orlando City last week. Sebastian Giovinco had both goals in that win then sat out of the road trip against the Sounders. Attacking midfielder Victor Vazquez, who leads the team with six assists, and defenders Steven Beitashour and Eriq Zavaleta also stayed home from Seattle.
It was thought that the hectic schedule could catch up with TFC against the Crew, but Tosaint Ricketts scored a pair of late goals for the three points on the road.
The Reds went 1-4-1 through their first six games before the winning streak. The Reds' lone loss came against Columbus, an emotional game because Toronto coach Greg Vanney was grieving the death of his mother and defender Drew Moor was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat during training.
"We knew we were inches away at the start of the season just missing opportunities to get results," Vanney said. "We came away with a lot of draws in that stretch, but we knew we were close."
Toronto hosts Minnesota this weekend to cap a rather busy spell. And there's some good news for the Reds: Moor has returned to training after undergoing a procedure in Boston.
"Two weeks ago, a lot of people were concerned because we weren't necessarily turning some of those games into wins. But we knew we were close and it was a matter of working through a few things in getting the season started," Vanney said. "How quickly the feeling can change when you have a couple weeks where you put together a set of wins."