Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Bradley and Defoe signings amp up pressure in Toronto
by Paul Kennedy, January 13th, 2014 6:22PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls, toronto fc

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS SPOTLIGHT] To say Toronto FC has upgraded in the offseason would be a massive understatement. In 2013, TFC failed to make the playoffs for the seventh year in a row -- an MLS record -- and won just six of 34 games. The acquisition of Michael Bradley and Jermaine Defoe, who were introduced to Toronto fans on Monday, gives Coach Ryan Nelsen six new players he'll slot into the TFC starting lineup and puts massive pressure on him to get things right quickly.

It's all transpired very quickly since Tim Leiweke, the man who brought David Beckham to Los Angeles, was installed as president of MSLE, the Toronto FC parent company that also owns the NHL Maple Leafs and NBA Raptors, and young general manager Tim Bezbatchenko arrived from the MLS league office.

Leiweke shelled Beckham-like money to convince Defoe (reported to be at $8 million a year) and Bradley ($6 million per) to move from big European clubs to the hapless Reds, joining young Brazilian Gilberto (acquired from SC Internacional in December) as the three Designated Player signings. (There is still the matter of trading Matias Laba, the team's returning DP, or rewriting his contract, but heck, when you're shelling out tens of millions that's a small detail.)

“To do one [DP deal] is a smart move," Leiweke told the Toronto Star. "To do two DPs is not the smartest thing we’ve ever done. To do three is financial suicide."



Defoe and Gilberto instantly give Coach Ryan Nelsen one of the best attacking duos in MLS, and they'll be supported by Bradley, easily the best box-to-box player in MLS. Nelsen has so much attacking power that he said Monday fans could see Toronto attacking in a 2-4-4 a lot of the time.

That will be possible because Toronto also picked up three MLS veterans Jackson and Justin Morrow (via trades from FC Dallas and San Jose) and former MLS MVP and local hero Dwayne De Rosario (taken in the Re-Entry Draft and signed to a new contract last week).

That attacking posture will put enormous pressure on returning captain Steven Caldwell in the middle of the backline besides a pair of young Canadians, Doneil Henry and Ashtone Morgan, and Morrow and in front of second-year starter Joe Bendik in goal. But that's nothing like the pressure that will be on their coach.



At the Galaxy, Leiweke went through two coaches -- Frank Yallop and Ruud Gullit -- in Beckham's first year in Los Angeles before bringing in Bruce Arena to rebuild the Galaxy. This is no rebuilding job in Toronto like at the Galaxy, the MLS champion only two years before Beckham's arrival. There's been nothing that's ever worked in Toronto to begin with.

Nelsen has been given plenty of resources to turn the Reds around, though he insisted Monday he has a lot of work ahead of him. “Are we the finished product?" he said. "Of course, not."

He knows just as well as anyone he won't have a lot of time to get things right -- and quickly.


2 comments
  1. Peter sheehan
    commented on: January 14, 2014 at 8:19 a.m.
    If Nelson can get all these nuggets on the same page at the same time TFC should excite its fans and make The MLS a much stronger league! These are proven calibre type players who know how to play the game! They are used to pressure and will make TFC a definite challenger! TFC and it's management should be commended for its courage to step into the breach and risk huge $'s to bring the city of Toronto and it's fans a winner! Many believe it will happen and soon!

  1. Walt Pericciuoli
    commented on: January 14, 2014 at 11:08 a.m.
    Wish the rest of the league would follow. Good luck TFC


Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Where to Watch European Soccer    
Here are 329 places Soccer America readers recommend where you should go to watch soccer for ...
Mario Goetze's beautiful backward nutmeg on Brecko    
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] Mario Goetze, Germany's World Cup final hero, not only has a nose for ...
This season's most amazing free kick so far    
[VIDEO PICK: Golazo] You can hardly blame Hamburg SV goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny for remaining rooted to ...
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS: Week 29] Robbie Keane ran wild in the major-market matchup of Designated Players to keep ...
What They're Saying: Landon Donovan    
"I've always tried to be a guy who makes the right play in front of the ...
Onus on Cavani for PSG against Barcelona    
[UCL: Three Games to Watch] Paris St. Germain-Barcelona is the marquee match of Matchday 2 in ...
What They're Saying: Paul McGinley    
"I bounced ideas off him all week, he didn't preach to me, he didn't tell me ...
MLS's nouveau riche dominate millionaire club    
[MAKING A LIST] Big money has been flowing into Major League Soccer. Of the 15 players ...
USA and Brazil to play U-23 match in Brasilia    
[DATEBOOK] The U.S. World Cup team never got to Brasilia, falling in the round of 16 ...
Report: Chivas USA set to go on hiatus after 2014 season    
[MLS SPOTLIGHT] The news should come as no surprise. Chivas USA, sold back to MLS by ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives