As the 2015 season is now just a couple of days away, the excitement is building. We’ve had a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday in the build up and today we take a look at what Toronto FC will be looking to achieve this season…
Last year was another disappointing season for Toronto FC. They went into the 2014 campaign full of hope as their squad had quality players in the shape of Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe, Gilberto and Julio Cesar. However, things didn’t quite work out as planned as the Reds missed out on the playoffs for the eighth successive year. They’ve still never reached the post-season but have invested heavily in the squad again this offseason with Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco both joining as Designated Players. 2015 should be a better year for Toronto and the main aim will be to make the playoffs for the first time in the clubs’ history.
Last season’s finish: Eastern Conference position: 7th – P34 – W11 – D8 – L15
What needs to change this year?
Toronto lost 15 games in 2014, which is an immediate concern looking at how strong the team was on paper. If anything, they’ve improved this offseason and making sure they concede fewer goals will be one of the primary areas for head coach Greg Vanney to address. Only four sides conceded fewer goals than Toronto’s 54 last season and that must change. The Reds ended the season with just two wins in 13 games and so it’s vital that they start the new season in better form. A lot has changed so things can be expected to be different on the field but it’s important that the Canadian club don’t rely on Giovinco and Altidore to simply fire them to success. They need to remain solid through the core of the team. They kept just six clean-sheets in 2014. That has to increase if they are to make the playoffs.
Key changes to the squad:
Ins: Marco Delgado – Midfielder, Robbie Findley – Forward, Jozy Altidore – Forward (Designated Player), Sebastian Giovinco – Midfielder/Forward (Designated Player), Damien Perquis – Defender, Benoit Cheyrou – Midfielder.
Outs: Dwayne De Rosario – Forward, Doneil Henry – Defender, Bradley Orr – Defender, Jermain Defoe – Forward, Gilberto – Forward, Kyle Bekker – Midfielder, Dominic Oduro – Midfielder.
Key Player: Michael Bradley – Midfielder
Michael Bradley didn’t do badly in his first season with Toronto but he is capable of better and having been made captain, he will hope to inspire his teammates to success in 2015. Injuries plagued his 2014 campaign but a fully fit Bradley is heading into the new season and he will need to be at his best in the heart of midfield if Toronto are to tick as they are meant to. The 27 year old has two quality forwards to feed the ball to in Altidore and Giovinco and as the face of the franchise, it’s time for the USMNT star to lead his side into the playoffs.
One to watch: Sebastian Giovinco – Midfielder/Forward
Few will need to be told to watch Sebastian Giovinco this year as all eyes will be on the Italian playmaker from the word go. But his performances will be key to how Toronto fare this season and after heavy investment, the ‘Atomic Ant’ needs to deliver. At 27, Giovinco is in the prime of his career and he is one of the most exciting additions to MLS this year. If he can hit the ground running with his new team, he could be crowned MLS MVP at the end of the season. Fatigue could be an issue as he has come straight in from Juventus in the middle of their season but a lot of attention will be given to Giovinco throughout the campaign.
Predicted finish: Eastern Conference – 3rd
This will be the year Toronto FC finally make the MLS Playoffs. The signings of Giovinco and Altidore demonstrate their intentions to succeed and those two will be key along with club captain Michael Bradley. The key for Toronto will be how the other squad players perform and the likes of Damien Perquis and Benoit Cheyrou should also strengthen the side dramatically in a defensive sense. They have done relatively well in preseason, winning four of their seven games, and need to start the new campaign well, especially as their first three are away from home against tough opposition. A good start would set the tone for a good year and Toronto should do well in 2015.
What are you expecting from Toronto FC in 2015?