Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MLS2012: Toronto FC

The 1st MLS franchise in Canada was the gold standard for support when they entered the league, but a couple lean seasons has led to empty seats at the BMO. One Goal checks it out.

Home Stadium: BMO Field - Toronto, Ontario

Nathan Sturgis (traded to Houston)
Danleigh Borman (released)

Jeremy Hall (from Dallas)
Luis Silva (4th pick in SuperDraft)
Geovanny Caicedo (LDU Quito)
Miguel Aceval (Universidad de Concepcion)

Player To Watch
Koevermans joined Toronto midway through 2011 along with Toronto's other big European signing, Torsten Frings.  Koevermans was effective immediately, and is by far the most talented attacking threat on the squad.  Expect him to spearhead the attack in the center of a 4-3-3, where he will be counted on heavily for goals.

Supporter Profile
Before Seattle and Portland's entrance into the league got MLS HQ all hot and bothered, Toronto was the enviable expansion team with massive crowds.  That was five years ago, and missing the playoffs in all five of those years has taken its toll on attendance.  Still, the Red Patch Boys, along with the North End Elite and U-Sector maintain a solid presence at games both home and away.  Decent tifo, but more noticeable, the section stays loud and packed regardless of how the team has fared on the field.

Toronto continues its time honored tradition of assembling a strong midfield and attacking team with big names and clear talent to play directly in front of a defense hastily assembled of traffic cones and paper clips.  Things do look a bit better in the back headed in to 2012, as the central pairing of newcomers Caicedo and Aceval should be decent.  With Frings and Julian de Guzman sitting in front of the back four and running the midfield, attacking chances against Toronto should be limited, or at least forced to the outside.  Both can play box to box, but they are certainly more in the defensive mold that straight attackers, so a lot of pressure will be on either Eric Avila or rookie Silva to create from the midfield.  Toronto's roster is solid, and if their new defensive signings can adjust to MLS and stay fit, they should have a good crack at making the playoffs.  If not, expect rioting in or around BMO Field at season's end.

Dave Braneck
   ONE GOAL Contributor

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