Sunday, January 9, 2011

Toronto FC Roster Assessment Part 1/4 – Goaltending

With training camp starting within the month, and our coaches now in place it is time to assess Toronto FCs roster and what additions are needed in the off season. It’s quite alarming that Toronto FC only has 17 players on its roster, when the MLS can take a maximum of 26 senior roster players and 4 developmental ones.

Not only is the roster abysmally small, but Toronto FC has only picked up one new player this offseason. At the moment, it is frightening to glance at the currently barren TFC roster, however there is hope.

Firstly, there are some very talented players who are remaining. Secondly, much of the fat from last year’s roster has already been cut. Overpriced and outclassed players like Garcia, Hscanovics and Usanov have already been released, along with others who were not worth the cap space they took up. And most importantly we have a new management team in place that will be actively looking for players to fill their system. What remains in the roster? Is it a good core to build on? Or is there much more to be desired?

Here is my take on the current roster and what Toronto FC still needs for the upcoming season. In each section (Goalkeepers, Defenders, Midfielders and Forwards) I’ll rank the section as a whole and each player out of 5. I’ll try to do this as comprehensively a report as possible so that we can truly see how TFC are doing at this point.

Goalkeepers: 4.5/5
This is arguably the strongest part of the roster. Toronto FC has a formidable starting Goalie in Stefan Frei, and a great amount of depth in Milos Kocic and Jon Conway. Stefan Frei is without a doubt one of the best keepers in the league, and has saved us on numerous occasions last season with monumental saves.

Toronto FC’s back-up keepers are also excellent and have served us well when used. Toronto FC is really strong between the uprights and with good depth in Jon Conway and a great prospect for the future in Milos Kocic, the club is truly prepared for anything that comes at them.
Stefan Frei has established himself as one of
the top goaltenders in Major League Soccer
Stefan Frei 4.5/5
Stefan Frei was Drafted 13th Overall in the 2009 MLS Super Draft by Toronto FC. He has quickly established himself as the team’s top goalie and has been a key feature for Toronto FC ever since. He’s earned numerous Save of the Week awards, a couple Man of the Match distinctions and in 2010 had the most saves of anybody in Major League Soccer. Stefan Frei has been a life saver for Toronto; His saves have kept them in games that would otherwise be outright embarrassments.

He is more than just a shot stopper however. He’s a great leader and communicates well with his defense. He is a pretty good ball distributor. Other than Maurice Edu he has been the best draft pick in Toronto FC history. In the next couple years, if Frei’s excellent form continues, he will likely make a big deal move to Europe. Until then he will continue to be Toronto FC’s savior between the posts.

Jon Conway should be a solid back-up
for Toronto FC in 2011

Jon Conway 3.5/5
Jon Conway has been in Major League Soccer for 10 years now and has established himself as a very steady back-up keeper. He has won two MLS Cups and was previously the starting goalkeeper for RBNY as well as a supporting keeper to some of the league’s best, like Joe Canon and Pat Onstad. Jon Conway could probably start at some MLS clubs.

He is a strong shot-stopper and has adequate distribution skills. When featured, he has done well and impressed. He will continue to help out when Stefan Frei is injured or rested and I feel confident in his abilities to cover for Toronto FC in net.

Milos Kocic, the team's third keeper,
would benefit from another loan overseas
Miloš Kocic 3/5
Kocic is another great back-up keeper and loaning him out to Serbian White Eagles last season really helped him improve. He is young and has loads of potential; if Stefan Frei is sold to a European club, Milos could be our replacement. Another loan next season would be a good idea as he is our third string keeper, the loan would help him improve even more.

Improvements Needed?
Not at all. Frei is an amazing starting keeper who will continue to improve, he is really someone we can trust and rely on to keep our net empty. Meanwhile, Kocic and Conway are both good back-ups. So what can this section of our roster improve on? Frei had a massive amount of saves last year (108), but he really shouldn’t have to make that many. The defense really has to step it up and support their keepers and in Part Two we will talk about the defense and what must be done there.

What do you guys think about our Goalkeeper situation? Do you have any preliminary thoughts about Toronto FC’s defense? If you have any questions/comments make sure to post them in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

Remaining BTTN Toronto FC Roster Assessment Schedule
Defense: Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
Midfielders: Friday, January 14th, 2011
Forwards: Sunday, January 16th, 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment