All eyes on the Toronto FC at the start of the MLS season
By Brady Stark
Spring has come, and that means a new Major League Soccer season is upon us. Excitement surrounds Canadian teams as they make a push to the playoffs. Moves were made by all three Canadian teams in the offseason, but none more dramatic than the overhaul of the Toronto FC.
Toronto’s first order of business under new manager Tim Bezbatchenko was to fill out their midfield gaps which were clearly a concern after last season’s disappointment in the standings. The team acquired Michael Bradley from A.S. Roma of the Italian Series A League, who had 41 appearances. Bradley is known for his defence and his incredible work ethic, as demonstrated by his first game for the Toronto FC where his presence was seen all over the field.
Next on the Manager’s wish list was Julio Caesar from the Queen’s Park Rangers of the English Premier League. Caesar was made expendable by Queen’s Park when he lost the starting position to Robert Green. Toronto quickly scooped up this Brazilian international goalkeeper as a challenge to the rest of the league to take notice of their goaltending prowess.
The mind of Bezbatchenko then turned to a Toronto FC veteran and franchise leading goal scorer Dwayne De Rosario, who had been playing for DC United in the previous two seasons. De Rosario is expected to slot in the midfield position alongside Bradley to create one of the more potent defensive pairings in the entire MLS. The final piecederesistance was a player that MLSE owners had been hinting at as their key piece in their franchise’s rebirth. On 14 January 2014, Toronto FC announced that they had signed Tottenham Hotspur FC’s star striker Jermain Defoe to a fouryear deal worth $8 million a year. Defoe was Tottenham’s 5 of all time, and their highest scoring European goal scorer ever.
These new acquisitions catapulted Toronto FC to projections that could see them winning the MLS Cup in the 2014 season.