2016 was a groundbreaking year for Toronto FC, becoming the first Canadian club to reach the MLS Cup final. However, the season ended in heartbreak as Toronto came up short against the Seattle Sounders at BMO Field.
TFC boasted one of the deepest rosters in MLS and that should be the case again in 2017. The Reds lost a couple of depth options already, but the squad should remain intact next season.
Here is a closer look at what TFC has done and what they must accomplish during the offseason:
Clement Simonin, Chris Mannella, Daniel Lovitz, Benoit Cheyrou, Quillan Roberts, Josh Williams, Will Johnson, Mark Bloom
1st Round: No. 21 overall
2nd Round: No. 26 overall, No. 27 overall
3rd Round: No. 52 overall, No. 65 overall
4th Round: No. 83 overall, No. 87 overall
Toronto hasn’t technically signed any new players, but it permanently signed midfielder Armando Cooper, who was acquired on loan towards the end of the regular season. This combats the loss of Will Johnson somewhat, but if Benoit Cheyrou is not re-signed, then depth in the center of the pitch becomes an issue.
Josh Williams’ departure has thinned out TFC’s depth at centerback as well, so a backup should be signed to shore up the backline. Drafting another defender could be sufficient enough, though.
Holding onto the likes of Michael Bradley will be crucial for TFC heading into 2017. Toronto reportedly rejected a multi-million dollar bid for the U.S. international in the summer and might draw more interest in January. That is why keeping the current squad intact is the biggest priority for the team in the offseason.
Toronto is set to contend for the next couple of seasons, but in a salary-cap league, it’s always difficult to maintain a consistent roster.
Much like other Eastern Conference teams like the New York Red Bulls or New York City FC, TFC’s offseason will be about keeping its squad together. Thankfully for the team’s brass, Bradley is the only key player who has been publicly linked to clubs abroad, so the Reds aren’t in danger of losing anyone.
Unless TFC is against the cap, Will Johnson should be the only notable departure. If that is the case, then Toronto will be one of the favorites to win MLS Cup in 2017.