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Hope and TFC
- Updated: December 14, 2013
Toronto FC fans are understandably cynical. Seven years of frustration and coming off of the worst two-year stretch in MLS history will do that to you.
So, they are reluctant to believe the rumours that Jermaine Defoe and Alberto Gilardino are on their way. The truth is that Defoe is almost certainly coming and, despite the reluctance previously reported on CSN, Gilardino is coming around to the idea too–Defoe’s signing would play no small role in his decision.
So, dream away. God knows dreaming has been hard to do with this team since at least 2011.
The question then is: Would it matter? Even with two players of that calibre would TFC actually improve.
The party line of nearly everyone is that the signings alone wouldn’t solve anything. It’s true. TFC needs to improve in more than its attack. However, improving the front-line is the single most important thing they need to do.
Let’s take a look at a potential starting line-up:
That line-up makes the playoffs. It probably adds 20 goals to the ledger and 20 more goals, without question, puts TFC into the playoff hunt.
At this point you are likely screaming at your screen. Who’s that in the left mid, you are probably asking.
Yes, I added DeRo to the line-up. Adding another creative force in the midfield is necessary. And, there are a lot reasons to believe that TFC is legitimately looking at bringing the chicken dance back to BMO.
There are rumblings that they’ve already spoke, that DeRo is willing to come back at a greatly reduced number (he has business interests in the city that he wants to spend more time on) and, critically, understands that he would be a supporting player at TFC this time around.
The odds are very good he’ll be back. Regardless, getting a player like DeRo is critical to TFC’s success next year.
Taking a look at the rest of the line-up, the next problem area is at the back. Henry needs to be better, but the fullbacks are the bigger issue. Look for TFC to bring in at least one MLS veteran at fullback and, ideally, another centreback to allow Henry to be spot started (Nelsen is high on Henry — he’s his pet project — so Henry will see good minutes next year).
People laugh when it’s suggested that the Reds are only 4-5 players away from being a playoff team, but it’s always been true. They just have to be the right players.
Defoe and Gilardino would be. Based on his movement for Canada last month, it looks like DeRo might have another season or two in the legs and has always been most effective in MLS when he wasn’t the main focus.
Add two more names and you’re in business. There wouldn’t be enough depth to likely win a championship, but the low hanging fruit of a playoff berth?