The last of the Eastern Conference teams in my preseason look at what is still lacking as teams begin their preseason camps.
Later today I’ll begin the Western Conference clubs as I try to push this series out by the end of the week.
So far I’ve done the following clubs: the Chicago Fire and Columbus Crew, D.C. United and the Houston Dynamo, the Montreal Impact and the New England Revolution and the New York Red Bulls and the Philadelphia Union.
- Defensive midfield. They got Mikey Lopez in the SuperDraft and eventually I think he’ll be a Roger Espinoza replacement in the midfield. But losing Espinoza and Julio Cesar this offseason left a void in the midfield. They did get Benny Failhaber and Pablo Nagamura seems like a decent candidate but will that be enough? I still think they are a tad thin in this department going into the preseason and it could be a problem. Their defense relied on a tough defensive midfielder in front of them last year.
- Flank play. Peter Vermes doesn’t run a typical 4-4-2 set up, or even a typical 4-3-3 set up that relies on midfielders running the wings. He uses more forward-type players on the outside which is nice and all but I do think they are a little low on bodies that can run the wings. Teams that stretch them out have success, like Houston.
- Forward thinking. Sure they have two DPs in Eric Hassli and Danny Koevermans that are forwards but do either of them want to be there this season? We know Hassli wants out and who knows how long Koevermans will take to get back to his old self. That leads doesn’t leave a ton outside of guys like Justin Braun to fill the void. Toronto has to figure out what they are doing with their two forward DPs and fast.
- Creative playmaker. One thing that has always and I mean always lacked up in Toronto is a guy in the midfield that can pull the strings. Sure they had Dwayne De Rosario for a short spell but that wasn’t enough given how he didn’t have the staff around him to do that number 10 sort of thing.
- Outside help. Defensively the Reds improved in the middle but the outside backs and even wingers in general are still lacking a bit. They are either too young in this area or just not good enough. You want to find a way to beat Toronto right now, spread them out and spray balls into the box, it will break them down quick.