Toronto FC has been spending big this offseason for the second straight season. This year Toronto has signed two designated players, USMNT striker Jozy Altidore and Italian international and Juventus playmaker Sebastian Giovinco. It’s clear that they have the players to succeed in 2015, but the same could have been said after their signings of Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley before the 2014 season.
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While other MLS teams are in a holding pattern due to uncertainty of roster changes and salary cap in the new CBA, Toronto has been the clear high spenders so far. Last year, TFC crashed and burned and failed to reach the 2014 MLS Playoffs. With an expanded field from 10 to 12 teams, it is even more imperative for Toronto to make the playoffs. If they do not, then it just goes to show that you can have the most talented players and spend the most money, but those two things do not guarantee success.
The head coaching staff will be dealing with some high-caliber players, who are making the most among MLS players. At the same time, they are very talented and can cause opposing defenses to head into distress. On the other hand, this high-caliber players could attempt to do their own thing and cause chaos to the team chemistry.
For Altidore, he’s coming from a struggling Sunderland side. At the same time, he saw very little playing time in his 18-month stint with the EPL side. This caused him to lose his confidence and saw his play suffer with the USMNT. He hasn’t been the same player that US soccer fans saw during 2013. His arrival to Toronto and return to MLS will allow him the opportunity to resurrect his club career and regain that confidence. Altidore is getting paid a lot of money and more than many think he deserved, but nevertheless he is back in MLS.
Likewise, playing alongside USMNT midfielder Michael Bradley will help both players. Regular playing time together on the same field will allow them to further bond and develop their chemistry. Altidore will be able to get regular playing time and see his fair share of shots on goals. This was two things Altidore saw little of at Sunderland. His success at Toronto will directly affect TFC and his success in 2015.
The potential is there for TFC to have a good season. Yet, if they don’t make the playoffs, then it will clearly be a bust. If they do make the playoffs, they will need to win a game to show it wasn’t just a coincidence they grabbed on of the six Eastern Conference playoff berths.