2014 MLS Season Review: Toronto FC

Eastern Conference Final Position: 7th

Review

Collapse. A season that looked so promising from the off ended with disappointment yet again as the Reds failed to make the playoffs for the eighth straight year. After building what looked like an incredibly strong side before the start of the new season, many expected big things from Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe and co. but they never managed to find a good run of form.

The club is up in the air now the season is over, Ryan Nelsen was dismissed midway through the season, and head coach Greg Vanney hasn’t had enough time to work with the players. Players who could soon be offloaded as Defoe looks likely to leave, while Doneil Henry had already been sold months ago, it was revealed last week.

Things haven’t gone according to plan, and extreme caution must now be taken to ensure things don’t implode in Toronto.

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Best Moment

The 2-1 win in Seattle to open the season filled fans with hope, and from that point failure was not an option. That was one of the rare moments of the season when things were really looking up, but it never really kicked on.

Worst Moment

Hard to pinpoint one moment, but the 1-0 loss at home to Houston Dynamo at the start of October ended many fans hopes of making the playoffs. The Reds needed to win that game, and things may have been different. However, they lost and then failed to win in their last three games either.

Player of the Year

Jermain Defoe was the most influential despite going missing in the second half of the season. He scored 11 goals and picked up two assists in his first season in MLS, and was a key part of the side until he picked up a groin injury that limited his availability. Toronto never lost a game in which he scored, and if he is to leave they will have a huge hole to fill.

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Biggest Win

Toronto 3-0 Chivas USA (September 21 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Sporting Kansas City 4-1 Toronto FC (August 17 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

Endless things must be improved. Club stability, the defence, the attack, and general running of the club. Keeping Doneil Henry’s sale a secret was a big mistake and hopefully they will learn from that. The Reds must be transparent with supporters to build a successful soccer team.

Toronto conceded 54 goals this season. That’s not good enough and must be addressed. They did win the highest number of games in a single season, but never found a solid run of form and that is also something which needs to be looked at. Stability is needed for the Reds to rebuild and make a serious charge towards the playoffs next season.

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2014 MLS Season Review: Chivas USA

Western Conference Final Position: 7th

Review

It was a disappointing show by Chivas this year as they showed a lot of promise but never really produced enough to threaten anyone. We were expecting a bit more than what we saw unfortunately.

Best Moment

A four-game winning streak where they beat San Jose, Real Salt Lake, Montreal and Vancouver consecutively through June and July – Erick Torres scored in all four games.

Worst Moment

Being 4-0 down by half time at home to Seattle Sounders early in September. They did fight back in the second half but eventually lost the game 4-2.

Player of the Year

It’s the obvious choice really, but with 15 goals and 52% of the overall team goals, it has to be Erick Torres. We’re expecting big things in the future from the 21 year-old.

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Colorado Rapids 1-3 Chivas USA (May 11 2014)

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-3 Chivas USA (July 13 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Chivas USA 0-4 Sporting Kansas City (September 13 2014)

Chivas USA fold

Sadly, Chivas USA will not be returning to Major League Soccer in 2015 as the league undergoes a few changes.

2014 MLS Season Review: Montreal Impact

Eastern Conference Final Position: 10th

Review

2014 is a year that won’t live long in the memory for Montreal Impact as they finished the campaign rooted to the foot of the Eastern Conference table and it goes down as their worst season since participation in Major League Soccer began in 2012.

Having qualified for the playoffs in 2013 they would have been hoping to back it up with another good season but it wasn’t to be and the quicker they put it out of their minds, the better.

Best Moment

A 2-0 win against all the odds when they overturned the high-flying New England Revolution in June must go down as the stand-out moment for their season. The Revs came in to the game in a scintillating run of form having won six of their last seven only to be completely taken by surprise by a fluent and clinical Montreal side.

Worst Moment

With an array of disappointments to choose from, it’s hard to pinpoint the specific worst moment of the season. It’s more a case of worst moments, and it has to be when they lost seven games on the bounce between 7th July and 10th August as this resigned them to the fact that they weren’t in for a good season.

Player of the Year

Marco Di Vaio retired from football following the conclusion of this season and he showed that you don’t ever lose your talent by contributing 13 goals (9 scored – 4 assisted) from just 17 starts. The Impact will have to go a long way to replace him so it’s only fair that his efforts are given the recognition they deserve.

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Biggest Win

Montreal Impact 3-0 Houston Dynamo (June 30 2014)

Biggest Defeat

Sporting Kansas City 4-0 Montreal Impact (April 20 2014)

What to improve for the 2015 season…

The first thing to do would be to remain realistic and not set goals and expectations too high.

It’s only the third season in which they have competed in Major League Soccer, so there is no shame in finishing bottom of the conference because it can be used as a major learning curve.

They don’t need to be told about the issues that clearly need addressing.

It’s very simple – they concede too many at one end and they don’t score enough at the other, but I’m sure that this is something that players and staff will be working hard on during the close season and they will come back fighting in 2015.