Toronto FC Season Preview

Toronto FC Season Preview

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On March 12, 2009
  • 4 Comments
  • 2009 Season Preview, Adrian Serioux, Amado Guevara, Chad Barrett, Danny Dichio, Dwayne De Rosario, Pablo Vitti, Season Previews

The last top on our season previews today heads out of the country to Canada with Toronto FC. The Reds have arguable had one of the best offseason by adding a few key additions like Dwayne De Rosario and Pablo Vitti. John Carver still has some issues to sort out in his defense but overall this club looks like a possible contender in the east.

2008 record and finish: 9-13-8, 35 pts., last in east, failed to reach playoffs

Offseason Player Movement:

Incoming:
Dwayne De Rosario (via trade – Houston Dynamo)
Sam Cronin (SuperDraft)
Stefan Frei (SuperDraft)
O’Brian White (SuperDraft)
Pablo Vitti (via loan from Independiente – Argentina)
Adrian Serioux (trade with Dallas)
Emmanuel Gomez (signing from Samger FC – Gambia)
Amadou Sanyang (signing from Real de Banjul FC – Gambia)

Outgoing:
Hunter Freeman (IK Start – Norway)
Tim Regan (Retired)
Julius James (trade with Houston Dynamo)
Jarrod Smith (Seattle Sounders FC – Expansion Draft)
Carlos Ruiz (waived)
Joey Melo (waived)
Todd Dunivant (trade with LA Galaxy)
Tyrone Marshall (trade with Seattle)
Kilian Elkinson (waived)
Derek Gaudet (waived)
Joey Melo (waived)

Questions going into 2009:

1. How much better will the offense be in 2009?

Add De Rosario and Vitti along with Chad Barrett, Amado Guevara, Rohan Ricketts and others and this club could very well be very offensively sound. The thing is and it is a big if for most people including me, just how well will DeRo and Guevara be together?

Thing is I believe these two will work out fine. Guevara looked to have matured a lot last year and throw in a successful guy like DeRo and this could be a great match in the midfield.

With the creative duties going through DeRo instead of Guevara we may see a more relaxed Guevara this season on the wings.

But if Guevara doesn’t handle sharing the spotlight don’t be shocked to see him get traded before the All-Star break.

2. Will the defense be any better with the young Africans and the addition of Adrian Serioux?

If you had asked me this a month ago I would have said that Toronto looked worse on defense then compaired to how they were in 2008. Fast forward to the addition of the two young Africans and Serioux and I think the defense is really coming together nicely.

However we don’t know exactly how good those kiddies from Gambia will be. Until they get their feet wet enough in MLS I would imagine Serioux to be paired up with Kevin Harmes. A pairing that won’t strike fear in the eyes of the rest of the league.

3. Breakout player to watch in 2009.

For those who still don’t know of Sam Cronin, by the end of this year you will understand why he was the number two pick in this year’s draft. He is a rookie of the year candidate already in my book and I fully expect him to contend for a starting role this season with TFC.

I see Cronin as a great partner to Carl Robinson too. He could also be a replacement for him if he falls into injury or international callups this year.

Look at the 2009 Schedule:

Fairly balanced overall but that could change if they actually play well in this year’s Nutrilite Canadian Championship. May is full of MLS madness and Canadian craziness. Luckily they are home most of that month for both league play and NCC.

Summer months will lighten up but if they advance to the CCL it will get a little bit more packed.

After the All-Star break their schedule gets a bit rough with seven road games in the final three months of the year. That means only five home games in friendly BMO Field.

Overall this could be a very tough schedule if the club doesn’t remain healthy throughout the year. Plus international callups will hurt them if they aren’t careful again.

2009 Season Outlook:

I want to say Toronto is going to be a contender in 2009. I want to but based on history and some uncertainty surrounding this club I just don’t know if I can put them there just yet. Yes they are improved, no doubt about it and yes I believe they had a great winter. But none of that will mean a thing if it doesn’t translate into success on the field this year.

A lot rests in the hands of the defense but unlike before this club actually has a playmaker in DeRo to actually keep the attack going. Before the club failed to maintain possession in the attacking third of the field due to the lack of a quality playmaker. This time around things should be different. Not to mention I think the defensive side of the midfield has gotten better too.

A lot of pressure will be on Vitti and Barrett to be a go-to scorer. If neither one of them fail to do so by the summer you could see this club act out of desperation for a striker. Which means they will likely use that DP slot to get a scorer. I think Vitti will surprise people in a good way this year and be a solid scorer in the league.

How will they end up? I think being a contender for the playoffs isn’t out of the question. Depth is an issue, just as it is for most clubs. Thing is Toronto seems to have some solid youth on their side that could make a big difference.

  • djking2

    I think you pretty much nailed it Drew. The whole season revolves around the 13 matches between the home opener on April 4 and July 2. With 9 of those at home where Toronto has traditionally (last season anyway) more than held their own we could hit the summer with a stake among the leaders. I think 28 or 29 points out of 12 league games by that point would be a reasonable target.<br />
    <br />
    Canada is out of world Cup contention but will still compete in the Gold Cup. Player losses to those games may not be as significant as last year because both Brennan and Dero have had a rather public falling out with CMNT head coach Dale Mitchell and it is likely at this point TFC will have 5 Canadians in the starting XI. <br />
    <br />
    Vitti looked really good in his first preseason game against DC yesterday. I'm sure TFC fans like myself are hoping they've got a future MLS MVP there but the team has lots of attacking options at this point and his quality will be a solid addition.<br />
    <br />
    If they can make 28 points by July 2 with 18 games to go I think there's way too much experience and depth to this squad for them to fall apart and fail to make the playoffs again this year

  • joel es latest socce

    Thanks Nice article.

  • djking2

    I think you pretty much nailed it Drew. The whole season revolves around the 13 matches between the home opener on April 4 and July 2. With 9 of those at home where Toronto has traditionally (last season anyway) more than held their own we could hit the summer with a stake among the leaders. I think 28 or 29 points out of 12 league games by that point would be a reasonable target.

    Canada is out of world Cup contention but will still compete in the Gold Cup. Player losses to those games may not be as significant as last year because both Brennan and Dero have had a rather public falling out with CMNT head coach Dale Mitchell and it is likely at this point TFC will have 5 Canadians in the starting XI.

    Vitti looked really good in his first preseason game against DC yesterday. I’m sure TFC fans like myself are hoping they’ve got a future MLS MVP there but the team has lots of attacking options at this point and his quality will be a solid addition.

    If they can make 28 points by July 2 with 18 games to go I think there’s way too much experience and depth to this squad for them to fall apart and fail to make the playoffs again this year

  • Thanks Nice article.