• Duane Rollins

      Covering the world’s game from a Canadian perspective, the 24th Minute has been at the forefront for Toronto FC coverage since 2008. It is the source for breaking news, analysis and all things Canadian soccer.

    • Michael Crampton

      Mike Crampton has been an avid follower of Canadian club soccer and participant in the emergent Canadian soccer supporters scene for over a decade. When not playing, watching, or writing about the game he continues to serve the grassroots as an administrator at the local level. You can follow Mike on Twitter @BHTC_Mike

    • James Grossi

      James began covering the game in 2011 after a slow process of two decades saw him gradually consumed by it. He contributes to The Shin Guardian, Waking the Red, and had a piece featured in Issue Two of The Blizzard, as well as maintaining his own site, Partially Obstructed View. He covers the rest of MLS in the hope of providing context to fans on the edge.

    • Hope and TFC

      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 caliber 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?

      Absolutely.

      While CSN improves the comments section you can comment on 24th Minute articles at this temporary site.
      Comments 4 Comments
      1. Initial B's Avatar
        Initial B -
        I'm not convinced that DeRo is less selfish on the ball. I think I'd almost rather have Kobayashi if the Reds can sign him at a reduced salary.

        As for Dafoe and Gilardino, I will continue to be skeptical until they've at least started 3 games for TFC. Their front office has earned that much.
      1. Trillium's Avatar
        Trillium -
        Most teams are 4 or 5 players from being competitive, in any league at any level the bottom team with 4 or 5 right changes can be top of the league, the issue at TFC is they have never been capable of getting 4 or 5 right decisions, they get one .. or one and half right then the rest is a fall back to the bias that exists in TFC for hard working but not creative or effective players.

        Two super stars from Europe will look at each other smile and take the money ... get niggardly injuries and build up retirement funds.

        TFC management can't make the passion come to such players if they get derailed in the early weeks under Nelson.
      1. StartingEleven's Avatar
        StartingEleven -
        Thats a solid line up, only if they can buy into what RN is selling. Dafoe will be effective but not a "star" in the league. Gilardino the same, but I don't think he will be going to TFC.
      1. Registrado's Avatar
        Registrado -
        That's a good lineup (although the fullbacks aren't top class), however, how is it that after 18 seasons of history, TFC and MLS fans, nay, management, don't see the importance of depth and the value of solid, unspectacular, but hardworking and consistent players in this physically demanding league?

        It's the teams that have two decent options at each position that survive the season and have choices for starters in the postseason. How else do smaller market, money savvy teams like RSL and SKC, etc. end up in the finals this year and others regularly? Not by buying two big names with little support and backup.

        If the rumours turn out to be true, Defoe would make more in one week than half the team's players would for the whole season. That could work, but when the franchise has been struggling to create team spirit for its entire history, that sounds risky to me.

        As always, I continue to pray to the soccer gods to bring sense and enjoyment for all the hells we've suffered through already, or at least the equivalent from Leiweke, Garber and WTF, Blatter.
      Comments Leave Comment

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