Saturday, January 15, 2011

Toronto FC Roster Assessment Part 3/4 – Midfield

Toronto FC’s midfield situation is probably the most complicated of any position. Some of the team’s most talented players are midfielders, but they currently have some issues.  TFC is still missing a spark that will ignite a cohesive and fluid attack. Even when it comes to defensive midfielders, they are lacking. Toronto FC has some good talent in midfield, but the power really rests upon the talent choosing to work hard. TFC’s mid really lacks on the wings however, and for the life of the franchise has never really had true and consistently strong wingers. They also only have five midfielders and assuming we play 4 midfielders, that’s only one back up, nowhere near enough. 

Dwayne DeRosario is, without a doubt,
the face of the franchise
Toronto FC will either have to motivate its current midfielders or pick up more talented and inspired additions. Wingers must be bought however, and the success of the coming season partially rests on the front office’s ability to pick up wingers and midfield reinforcement.

Dwayne De Rosario (Captain)  4.5/5
Dwayne De Rosario, Toronto FC’s talismanic attacking midfielder, is our franchise player, and many times last season he was the entire team. He scored more than half of Toronto’s goals, and was the spearhead of all of TFC’s attacks. The issues really started to arise after his cheque signing celebration towards the end of the season.  DeRosario is clearly upset with the club and his current contract. Many Toronto FC fans were angered and unsure if he would return. However, recently news broke that he would be returning from Celtic prior to the start of TFC training camp. Hopefully DeRosario’s contract will also be renegotiated efficiently and both he and the team will both be happy with it.

Julian de Guzman  3.5/5
Toronto’s first and currently only DP. He has had an illustrious career in Spain and is one of Canada’s greatest players. Unfortunately, De Guzman has not played that well for Toronto. His skill is a valuable asset but his passion doesn’t seem to always be there and that really affects his playing and performance. De Guzman is great at spraying the ball around midfield but he lacks the killer instinct in the final third. He has still not scored for TFC and doesn’t have too many assists. He is naturally a defensive mid, but his diminutive size may not be enough to be a midfield enforcer in a more physical league like Major League Soccer. His defensive output also leaves much to be desired. His performance versus his paycheck is considered by many as unbalanced and this may lead to some locker room conflict. If De Guzman wants to stay with Toronto FC, he really has to shape up and take his job seriously, BMO Field is no retirement home. If De Guzman gets his act together than he will be a real midfield force in MLS and help lead Toronto FC to their first playoff berth. But it is entirely in his hands and his heart.

Nick LaBrocca  2.5/5
He’s a decent midfielder, but he’d probably be a depth player if Toronto FC gets more midfield additions. LaBrocca has some potential though, and in the last game of the season he showed some real skill and power, making him one of the best players on the field. With improvement and playing at that level he could potentially feature in the Starting XI, but even if he doesn’t, he’s a good substitute.

Jacob Peterson 2/5
Jacob Peterson joined TFC at the beginning of last season. Since then he has made little impact and was an extremely poor player before the end of the season. His touch was terrible for a professional player, and his fitness is also poor. He is likely one of the weakest players on the team. However, he did improve slightly towards the end of the season as he got more playing time under Nick Dasovic. He may have some potential, and could improve, but if TFC wants to make the playoffs, they cannot have players like Jacob Peterson starting.

Nathan Sturgis ?/5
Nathan Sturgis is a new addition to TFC this offseason. He was picked up from Vancouver, who got him in the expansion draft from Seattle, for our first round draft pick. Sturgis was taken 12th overall in the 2006 MLS Super Draft and is part of the Generation Adidas program. He also received critical acclaim when he played in LA Galaxy’s preseason tour in England.  He clearly has some talent and was a starting midfielder for Seattle.  I’m entirely unsure of how he will do at TFC though, and it will remain to be seen if he was worth our first round draft pick.

Improvements Needed?
Yes. Toronto FC clearly has some serious skill in the midfield. Our two best players are midfielders: DeRosario and de Guzman. As long as they are both serious about working hard for the team next season, then we will be in good hands. Auxiliary midfielders are ok, but they need improvement. If Toronto FC doesn’t finally get some wingers, the offseason should be considered a complete failure. 

No comments:

Post a Comment