>Wednesday Lunch: MLS Team Preview – Toronto FC

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

>By Evan Ream, with help from the Intern

Last Year: 9-13-8 35 points, 5th in East, 11th overall
Key Losses: O’Brian White, Chad Barrett
Key Additions: Nathan Sturgis
Projected Starting XI: This is the lineup that I would hope that Toronto would use. Of course then I remembered that we are actually dealing with Toronto FC, who are quickly becoming Isaiah’s Knicks of MLS; all that is missing is a sexual harassment lawsuit. Keeping this in mind, they will probably do something inherently stupid (you know like trying to play a 4-3-3 with a bunch of mediocre players). Stephan Frei is solid in goal and should be the first choice starter to complement a mediocre backline led by a former male model (Adrian Cann), a guy who quit soccer to do volunteer work after his rookie season (Ty Harden), a guy who has torn his ACL twice (Dan Gargan), and a decent player (Nana Attakora). This backline looks fairly hopeless; I don’t know why they haven’t signed anyone else. Their midfield, which looks to be their strong suit, has probably the most overpaid player in MLS right now (Julian De Guzman), a player who is always injured (Nathan Sturgis), and a player who got traded away from Colorado when they sucked (Nick LaBrocca). Their two outside forwards include one player who was cut by Martin Vasquez’s Chivas USA team (Maicon Santos) and a player who has nine goals in 116 MLS appearances. Dwayne De Rosario is one of the top 11 players in MLS history. If you are counting at home, that is two players out of 11 that don’t have some kind of issue or problem. As I write this, I’m sure that this team will pull a 2010 San Jose Earthquakes and make me look like an idiot because some career journeyman like Jacob Peterson will score like 25 goals.

Maicon Santos          Dwayne De Rosario          Jacob Peterson
Nick LaBrocca          Julian De Guzman          Nathan Sturgis
Nana Attakora          Adrian Cann          Ty Harden          Dan Gargan
Stephan Frei

Prognosis: This team is pretty bad; they might be the worst team in the league. Dwayne De Rosario will get them a few wins just based on the fact that he can put up 15 goals for any terrible team. Julian De Guzman needs to stop mailing in every single game he plays for this team to be successful, which doesn’t seem likely. If you are looking to wager on which team will win this year’s wooden spoon as the worst team in the league, look no further. What is sad is that this team might actually only is the third best team in Canada (behind Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the NASL’s Montreal Impact). I didn’t really think that last year’s Toronto team could get any worse, but then they traded away their first round draft pick, cut a bunch of decent guys, and then didn’t sign anyone to cover for their losses. This may be the most poorly run team in terms of team management in MLS right now. You know things are bad when your star player decides that he is going to train with another club during the offseason without informing anyone, and then asks to be transferred or signed to a Designated Player deal. Yeah, this season is going to be bad.
The Intern’s Take: This season looks pretty bleak for Toronto. Unless Jürgen Klinsmann can do some great consulting this year and produce something miraculous, TFC seem destined to struggle. Along with De Rosario, I am looking forward to watching more of Maicon Santos, who joined TFC mid-season last year and knocked in four goals including this shot (Columbus goalkeeper Will Hesmer was to have the last laugh in that game however, scoring the equalizer late in stoppage time). After leaving their disappointing DP Mista unprotected in the Expansion Draft and choosing not to renew his contract this season, TFC now have two open DP spots. Dwayne De Rosario seems determined to do all he can to secure one of those spots and he probably deserves one, considering he scored nearly half of TFC’s goals last year. Whether he signs a DP contract or not, there will still be a slot open, and TFC should consider trying to fill it, probably with a defender, because the back line will be their biggest weakness this year. Based off of Evan’s projected starting lineup, TFC’s strengths make up the spine of their formation: Frei in goal, De Guzman in the middle of the field, and De Rosario leading the attack. The players on either side of this central line still have a lot to prove though, and until that happens it’s hard to see Toronto making a serious run at a playoff spot this season. The difficulties this organization is going through are truly unfortunate because their fan support is great and deserves a solid team; a playoff game at BMO would surely have an incredible atmosphere (and no, last year’s MLS Cup does not count since TFC were not playing in it).

DC United Team Preview
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Philadelphia Union Team Preview
New England Revolution Team Preview
Houston Dynamo Team Preview
Chicago Fire Team Preview
Sporting KC Team Preview
San Jose Earthquakes Team Preview
Colorado Rapids Team Preview
Seattle Sounders FC Team Preview
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FC Dallas Team Preview
New York Red Bulls Team Preview
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LA Galaxy Team Preview
Portland Timbers Team Preview
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Team Preview


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