- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On March 25, 2008
- 2 Comments
Final season preview here on WVHooligan.com, last but not least is Toronto FC.
2007 Record and Finish: 6-17-7, 25 pts., 7th in the east, 13th overall, missed playoffs
Incoming: Julius James (SuperDraft), Pat Phelan (SuperDraft), Brian Edwards (SuperDraft), Kevin Harmse (trade with LA), Jarred Smith (Supplemental pick from 07), Tyler Rosenlund (signed)
Outgoing: Chris Pozniak (expansion draft), Adam Braz (waived), Marco Reda (waived), Ronnie O’Brien (trade with San Jose)
Questions Going Into 2008:
1. Has this team made the proper changes for 2008 this offseason?
In some ways you could say this team will be better based on the draft that they had back in January but the lack of actual transfers into the club should speak for itself with Mo Johnston running things. Like I’ve said before, the draft was very good for Johnston but everything else this offseason hasn’t been as good. Most of the trialist didn’t pan out like some had hoped, some players wanted too much money and now they are in the middle of trying to deal for Amado Guevara.
Thing is, this club is pretty much in the same boat as last year’s club. No offensive midfielder who can control the pace of the game for them and help the strikers out. A defense that is still shaky and a keeper situation that changed so much no one could keep up with it last year.
Injuries killed this club last year and they did not do enough this offseason to address their lack of depth.
2. Will having healthy players at the start help?
Yes, a healthy Jeff Cunningham and Danny Dichio from the start will do wonders for their offense. Greg Sutton should be back in goal for this club and that is a much better thing than going through three or four keepers like last season. Defensively they should be better now that some guys like Jim Brennan have a full MLS season under their belts.
Injuries again killed this club last year but having them healthy at the start can only help out that much more. Thing is three road games to begin the season will be tough on any team, especially a team that lacks depth like the Reds do right now.
3. Will we see Dichio and Cunningham click?
I hope so, Cunningham is zeroing in on 100 goals for his MLS career, so you know he will be geared to go after a bad season last year. Dichio is a tough guy and one of my personal favorites in this league. I think they should be able to work better this season together. Last year was just tough all around but with a new coach things should start to take shape with the two of them.
Both need to have a good season though for this club. Each need to be in that 8 to 10 goal range for this club to even have hopes of contending for a playoff spot in a jam-packed east.
Another guy that needs to step up in a big way is Colin Samuel. Some reports have said he has had a solid preseason so there is some hope for last year’s worst offense in the league.
4. Will John Carver be able to keep this club from having long stretches of no goals?
I would be willing to bet that Carver will not allow long stretches of no goals this season. Then agian most coaches will not allow it even if it happens but I cannot see Toronto having multiple games of no goals like last season here this year. Expansion seasons are tough no matter what and Toronto experienced just that.
I look for this club to be better on offense this season and to not have those long droughts. Look for San Jose to take over those records this season and not Toronto extending them.
Sure Toronto scored a majority of their goals with Ronnie O’Brien but I think once this club makes a move or two in the coming months and in the summer, then they will be fine on offense. Thing is they haven’t done enough right now to wow me on offense this winter. They need another striker and an offensive midfielder…and a couple flank players wouldn’t hurt as well.
5. How tough is the schedule?
I look at the Toronto schedule and see lots of road games late in the year. From the All-Star break on they have 14 games, eight of which are on the road. Thankfully they don’t have any Thursday – Sunday swings in that final stretch of the season.
Its an interesting schedule to say the least. They start with three on the road (like last year) and then return home for five in a row.Of the 16 in the first half of the season, nine are at home, which means they will have to get loads of points early to make up for the late amount of roadies on the schedule.
Their depth will come in to question late in the year and maybe even early on if they get some injuries. Right now rookie Julian James is on the mend and it will be interesting to see how long it takes him to get back. James is a player that Toronto will need in a big way this season with Maurice Edu seeing National team time with the US in the summer and in the Olympics.
2008 Season Outlook:
Their depth is lacking and the midfield is still very weak. I think this club will be better based on experience from last year but not by a whole lot due to the lack of moves that they made over the last couple of months. Young guys will have to step up early on to make any sort of impact on this team. Cunningham, Dichio and Samuel will have to come up huge this season.
Defensively they must be tougher than last year, and Jim Brennan is the key to that. If this group stays healthy they will be a tough team to beat, especially at BMO Field.
Health and play of the midfield are the key to this club right now with their lack of depth. Once they address their depth I will feel more comfortable about this club, but until then there is no way that this club will even be in reach of the playoffs this season. They should get more than six wins this season but as packed as the east is it will be very tough for them to even have hope of catching up to DC and New England.
The fan base will still be there no matter what and that could be enough for them to actually make some noise. The 12th man will be their biggest factor again this season. And you know what, that may not be a bad thing at all.