By AVI CREDITOR
With BMO Field selected as the 2010 MLS Cup host, Toronto F.C. has a bit more motivation at reaching the promised land.
The only problem is, the team doesn't quite have the horses to get there.
Preki enters his first season as Toronto coach with a lot of work to do. The roster has some shining stars (Dwayne De Rosario, Julian de Guzman, Stefan Frei), but many key components went elsewhere in the offseason, and there are far too many holes to consider the team a serious contender.
The continued sellout crowds at picturesque BMO Field will give the team that extra boost at home, but there's plenty more that needs to be done to ensure a home game on Nov. 21.
Here is a look at the 2010 Toronto F.C.:
2010 TORONTO F.C.
Players to Watch: Dwayne De Rosario, Julian de Guzman, Stefan Frei, Sam Cronin,
Key Arrivals: Jacob Peterson, Ty Harden, Zac Herold, Nick LaBrocca
Key Departures: Ali Gerba, Adrian Serioux, Amado Guevara, Carl Robinson, Danny Dichio, Marvell Wynne
Projected Lineup (New starters in bold)
————-O'Brian White———-Chad Barrett—————–
Dwayne DeRosario———————————Nick LaBrocca
—————Julian DeGuzman—–Sam Cronin——————
Jim Brennan——Nick Garcia—–Ty Harden—–Nana Attakora
Biggest Question: Who's scoring the goals?
The team has a strong midfield presence between De Rosario and de Guzman, but they don't have many options to feed to. The central defense is a liability, and even though Frei is an all-star in the making in goal, Preki is going to need more goals from his attack if Toronto will be able to compete.
Preki knows a thing or two about attacking the goal, but he'll either have to magically transfer the skills from his prime to his thin group up front or have Mo Johnston bring in some new talent to augment the player pool.
X-Factor: Any healthy striker
Chad Barrett and Jacob Peterson could help the team's offensive woes, but both are on the mend. As noted above, there aren't many goalscorers on this roster with Gerba's pending departure and Dichio's retirement (still with the team, but in a coaching/administrative role).
Keep an eye on O'Brian White, who netted a couple of goals last season. He was a prolific scorer at the University of Connecticut until suffering an ACL injury at the end of his college career in 2008. Now two years removed from the injury, he has a better chance at recapturing his form.
Outlook: Not good. At least not presently. A roster move here or there would turn things around, but the team didn't help itself for the coming season in the draft (Zac Herold is a project that could blossom down the road), and Preki has his work cut out for him in his first year as boss north of the border. As things currently stand, Toronto won't be close to playing in the MLS Cup that it will be hosting.