For seven years, Toronto FC was synonymous with Major League Soccer futility. The league's first Canadian club, despite enthusiastic fan support and financial muscle, has never made the playoffs.
That looks like it could change in this, the club's eighth season. TFC sits third in the East, five points ahead of the closest playoff race outsider with a game in hand and two straight wins in its back pocket.
And while big-money additions Jermaine Defoe and Michael Bradley have deservedly taken much of the plaudits, the team's other designated player, Gilberto, has stepped up and been vital in recent days. The Brazilian began his MLS career with nine scoreless games and was considered by some to be a flop, but three goals in his last four starts - including his most recent in a 3-2 win over rival Columbus - show that there's life in the forward yet.
"We never for a second lost faith in him," said TFC midfielder Bradley after the Reds' win over the Crew on Saturday. "I know at times the media can be a little different. I know, especially for forwards, how important it is just to get goals. Even on days when he doesn’t score his contribution is so important.
"Together with Luke Moore, they were such a handful tonight and really did such a good job making the game difficult for their defenders.
Gilberto has scored four goals and provided two assists this season in 17 appearances for Toronto, which is 9-7-5 on the year.