For the past few Major League Soccer seasons, Toronto FC has made an incredible rise from a bottom of the conference team to MLS Cup champions in 2017. The Canadian club was on cloud nine- Boasting an all-star squad which contained the like of Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, winning the Eastern Conference and the MLS Cup for the first time in the club’s history. A year has passed, and Toronto FC couldn’t even qualify for the playoffs this year. So what’s going on with Toronto FC?
The 2018 season was definitely another season to forgot for Toronto. Feeling good after winning MLS Cup, fans and pundits alike predicted Toronto to continue it’s form into the following season. But early on, the side started to crumble. The players looked unmotivated and the team was losing games left and right. Toronto had the second worst defense in the Eastern Conference last season, which only added to the side’s misery in the 2018. Toronto lost several games at home and the Canadian side were essentially playing in the shadow of their fairytale season in 2017.
It’s safe to say that Toronto fans will definitely forget about the club’s horrific 2018 season and look forward to a new start in 2019. Although Toronto has not been too busy in the transfer window, only bringing back former LAFC and Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman to help improve the club’s defense. Even the signing of the Belgium international has fans skeptical. While Ciman has had great success in the MLS, notably with Montreal Impact and a short stint with LAFC, the defender does prove to be inconsistent at times. So fans are weary of how he will perform this upcoming season, especially since he played for Toronto’s rivals Montreal Impact. Needless to say the Canadian Classique will be very interesting for Ciman.
2019 has not started out well for the Canadian side either. The club’s first game in the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) proved to be a disaster, losing 4-0 to Argentine Side Independiente FC in Panama. Independiente exposed Toronto in all the wrong ways, breaking down the defense very easily and constantly bringing the high pressure attack. Toronto conceded within the first 10 minutes of the game, eventually breaking the team down to the point where the Canadian side looked so unmotivated to play. The Reds will play leg two in Toronto at BMO Field, and the club will have to do things very differently if they want to have any chance of making a run in the CCL.
There are many things going wrong for Toronto FC that it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly the problem is. Could it be that manager Greg Vanney has done his time at the club and a new manager is needed? Is it because there is not a sufficient amount of squad depth and Toronto needs to sign more players? Either way, Toronto FC need a huge win against Independiente if they want to start the 2019 MLS season with any positive momentum.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted at email@example.com