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After making a huge off-season splash, Toronto FC prepares to start their eighth MLS season still looking for a first ever playoff berth. TSN soccer analyst Gareth Wheeler tells you everything you need to know about Toronto FC heading into 2014, while TSN soccer analyst Jason deVos tells you how they will succeed or fail during the new campaign. Gareth Wheeler: With great signings come great expectations. Toronto FC went from afterthought to main focus in an off-season of change. President and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment Tim Leiweke promised big things; a swift turn around in fortunes upon his arrival. Momentum has shifted from a lifeless entity into a resurrected being with true hope and an ambitious future; no easy task for the most futile franchise in Major League Soccer history. Seven years outside of the playoffs has taken its toll. Amidst the newfound excitement is an element of prove it to me. Big promises have been made before. The shock of what has transpired with upwards of $100 million worth of transfer and payroll commitments hasnt sunk in with most. Tim-squared, as in Leiweke and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko backed up their lofty words with decisive, calculated action. On paper, this looks to be the best Toronto FC side the city has ever seen. Now comes the hard part: sustained stability and on-field success. Neither are guaranteed, but the blueprint reads much clearer. The buzz is palpable across Toronto. The question most often asked from passionate or casual supporters alike, how good will this team be? Theres no straight-forward answer. Its easy to get swept up in the hoopla. Tickets have been sold and the team will be playing in front of a packed house at BMO Field once again. Theres a lot to be excited about and failing to make the playoffs for an eighth consecutive year would be seen as nothing short of a complete failure. Championship calibre talk however is premature. Striker Jermain Defoe and influential central midfielder Michael Bradley represent the two biggest moves of MLS off-season. With name comes substance, with Defoe and Bradley easily becoming the best two players in franchise history. They are that good and make TFCs roster comparable to top teams in MLS. Brazilian duo, goalkeeper Julio Cesar and promising striker Gilberto are a step lower on the wow scale, but entirely intriguing. Manager Ryan Nelsen has raved about Gilberto and believes the 24-year old can score more goals than prized acquisition Defoe. The return of Dwayne De Rosario represents a chance to rectify the wrong surrounding his previous hasty departure. The club at the time painted De Rosario as the bad guy disingenuously. Bezbatchenko has made clear this is a new TFC, set on doing business a different and better way. Extending the olive branch to the hometown boy made too much sense. Attempting to forecast how this team will do is fruitless. A MLS season is a marathon to begin with, never mind the added wrinkle of this summers World Cup. Notwithstanding injuries and/or factors out of the realm of control, here are three keys to success for Toronto FC in 2014. 1) Goal scoring: Bezbatchenko has said to anyone who will listen; his first job was to find TFC goal scorers. Sounds simplistic but only one team scored fewer goals than TFC last season. Toronto has been in the bottom five in goals scored in each of the last four years. The lack of a true finisher outside of the oft-injured Danny Koevermans was an indictment on team management. Without top goal scorers there is next to no chance of competing with the top sides and having regular success. It has been one of the many reasons for perennial failure to date. How many goals Defoe, Gilberto, and De Rosario will score will determine how far this team will go. Gilberto has already set a lofty, most likely unattainable goal of 25 tallies this season. Defoe should have little trouble adapting to MLS life, and 20 goals isnt out of the question. TFC lost back-up strike option Bright Dike through pre-season injury, Dike would have played a key role. Bezbatchenko would be prudent to bring in another goal scorer to compliment the bunch because you can never have enough goals in the team. 2) Back four: Cheap goals conceded have plagued TFC in recent seasons. The group last year was far too young, inexperienced and mistake prone. The group worked hard, but lacked cohesion and didnt do anything particular well. Justin Morrow and Bradley Orr were brought in to add experience to the back-line. The strength, or lack thereof, of this young group will make or break this team. Cesar as a leader at the back helps, as does Steven Caldwell as a steady, vocal force. Can Nelsen get this group playing as a unit? Does TFC have enough quality depth? And can young Canadians Doneil Henry and Ashton Morgan makes strides, finding consistency in their game? If the answer to these questions is yes, TFC will be in good stead. Age is no longer an excuse. 3) Team tactics: Nelsens first year as manager was a trying one. With very little talent, depth and a revolving door, six wins and the third worst points total in the league (29) was a predictable outcome. Evaluation of Nelsen as team manager is thus far incomplete. It surprised some Nelsen remained in the off-season of top-to-bottom change. And because of that, he remains the easy fall-guy in case all doesnt go according to plan. Another coaching change is the last thing this team needs - eight coaches in eight years speaks to the lack of vision or consistent direction. Players, no matter how good, cannot achieve in a current state of flux. It must be said the work-rate of the team under Nelsen was superior. Theres no question hes a natural leader and a well-liked figure. His man-management and tactical approach will be tested now he has better players and a year under his belt. The team generally lined up in a 4-4-2 last year. A level of formational flexibility will be required to get the most out of his assets, particularly finding the best spots to play De Rosario and Gilberto as dynamic attacking players. The hype is back at Toronto FC. Its been called A Bloody Big Deal. The only way that manifests is if the wins follow. For the first time ever at TFC, there is good reason to believe it actually will. TSN Soccer analyst Jason deVos weighs in on how Toronto FC will succeed or fail during the 2014 season. Jason deVos: Toronto FC will succeed if… …the stars align. TFC have made the single biggest offseason spending splurge in the history of Major League Soccer. Nearly $100m has been spent to acquire the likes of Jermain Defoe, Michael Bradley, Gilberto, Júlio César and Dwayne De Rosario, and the burning question is this: Will this make TFC a contender? On paper, the answer is yes. Toronto is significantly stronger now than it has ever been. They have the U.S. national teams best midfielder in Bradley, a top-class goal scorer in Defoe and Brazils number one goalkeeper in Júlio César. You wont find a stronger spine to a team in MLS. If those players live up to their reputations, Toronto FC will not only make the playoffs, they will be the team that everyone wants to avoid in the post-season. Toronto FC will fail if… ….they put the cart before the horse. Having better players is one thing; getting them to play together, as a team, is another. It will take time for TFCs crop of new players to gel, and until that happens, the microscope will be firmly focused on head coach, Ryan Nelsen. The jury is still out on Nelsens ability - as a second-year coach - to get the best out of the talented players he now has at his disposal. He tends to stick to his preferred formation (1-4-4-2), and has so far shown little interest in experimenting with various tactical approaches to the game. This can work if the players are all on board (Real Salt Lake is a good example), but only time will tell if this will be the case for Toronto FC. If the team struggles out of the gate, expect Nelsen to come under increasing pressure. 2013 finish: 6-17-11 (ninth in Eastern Conference). Did not qualify for MLS Cup playoffs. Whos In?: M Michael Bradley (transfer from AS Roma) , GK Júlio Cesar (loan from Queens Park Rangers), F Jermain Defoe (transfer from Tottenham), M Dwayne De Rosario (Re-Entry Draft), F Gilberto (transfer from SC Internacional), M Jackson (trade from FC Dallas), D Justin Morrow (trade from San Jose), D Bradley Orr (loan from Blackburn Rovers). Whos Out?: F Justin Braun (out of contract), M Bobby Convey (trade to New York), F Robert Earnshaw (option declined), D Richard Eckersley (trade to New York), D Jonas Elmer (contract terminated), GK Stefan Frei (trade to Seattle), F Danny Koevermans (out of contract), M Matias Laba (trade to Vancouver), M Darel Russell (option declined), M Michael Thomas (option declined), F Emery Welshman (waived). SuperDraft: D Nick Hagglund (1-10), MF Daniel Lovitz (2-24). Akiem Hicks Jersey . The club says Fridays surgery was successful. Holiday, a former Eastern Conference All-Star acquired from Philadelphia last summer, has not played because of the shin injury since Jan. Anthony Miller Jersey . This has become the Raptors mantra as they embark on a new era with a new regime and, in the not-so-distant future, a new image. http://www.cheapbearsjerseyssale.com/?tag=jonathan-bullard-jersey-sale . Wheeler scored at 4:58 of overtime, with Scheifele getting an assist, and the Jets beat the slumping Colorado Avalanche 2-1 on Sunday night. Roy Robertson-Harris Jersey . Bobrovsky posted a 2-0-1 record with a 1.58 goals-against average and .950 save percentage to help the Blue Jackets (35-26-6) gain five of a possible six points last week. He capped the week by making 32 saves and stopping 2-of-4 shootout attempts in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. Charles Leno Jr Jersey . That further limits the options of Australia coach Ewen McKenzie, who on Monday suspended six players who were involved in a night out in Dublin ahead of the Saturdays 32-15 win over the Irish. The Wallabies play Scotland on Saturday before facing Wales on Nov.GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The proud fathers huddled near the Dallas Stars dressing room, smiling, laughing and telling stories while wearing replica green sweaters of their sons team. The Stars not only made their dads happy Tuesday night, they secured a key victory that improved their playoff chances. Antoine Roussel scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period, Kari Lehtonen stopped 26 shots and the Stars beat the sluggish Phoenix Coyotes 3-1 in front of 27 dads who took advantage of the franchises father road trip. "This is a little extra bonus," Lehtonen said of having his pop in the stands. "Its nice to have him here." Shawn Horcoff also scored and Ryan Garbutt added an empty-netter for the Stars, who won their second straight game and moved within one point of Phoenix and two of Vancouver, which holds the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Not bad for a team that less than a month ago was mired in a six-game losing streak. "It was a big win for us tonight," Garbutt said. "We had the dads in town and it was a fun game for the guys to play. Its kind of nice for the guys to be on a roll right now." Antoine Vermette scored his eighth goal in nine games and Mike Smith made 37 saves for the Coyotes, who were thoroughly outplayed in the final two periods despite the games importance. "It was really disappointing," Vermette said. "We have to find a way to win these games." Tied at 1 entering the third period despite a 31-18 edge in shots, the Stars took advantage of a bad line change and Kyle Chipchuras turnover at centre ice. The sequence ended with Roussels wrist shot from between the circles that beat Smith on the glove side at 3:25 for his ninth goal. "We turned over a lot of pucks and in the 1-on-1 battles just didnt do enough to give ourselves a better chance to win," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. It was another solid defensive effort for the Stars, three nights after blanking NHL-leading Anaheim 2-0 at the beginning of a three-game trip. When they arrived in Phoenix, so did most of the players fathers. They watched the Super Bowl together Sunday and visitedd a dude ranch Monday.dddddddddddd The fathers then had great seats for Dallas fifth win in seven games and a big victory against another team jockeying for a playoff spot. Phoenix entered the night in ninth place in the West with 62 points, while Dallas was 10th with 59. With eight teams going to the playoffs and Vancouver losing at Boston earlier in the evening, Tuesdays meeting and Saturdays rematch in Dallas meant an opportunity to create space and clinch the season series. "We talked about this morning that two teams that are pretty similar and tight, somebodys going to take advantage of an opportunity and win a game," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. "And I thought we were able to push through." Perhaps not surprisingly, there was little to separate the teams in the first period. And while the Stars had better chances early in the second, it was Vermette who continued his hot streak with a breakaway goal midway through the period to put Phoenix ahead. Vermette won the puck along the boards at centre ice and skated in alone, sending a backhander past Lehtonen at 9:18 to make it 1-0. It was Vermettes team-best 21st goal. Shortly after Vermette nearly scored another breakaway goal while short-handed, and with the Phoenix crowd booing what it felt should have been a Dallas penalty, the Stars tied it. Horcoffs no-look backhander from the slot on the power play slipped past Smith with 7:28 left in the second period. Dallas controlled the final period, with Garbutts empty-net goal with 26.7 seconds left putting it away and setting up a happy postgame reunion with the dads. "I think the ones whose sons scored are especially proud of them," Ruff said. "And they get to see it live. That part is good." NOTES: The Stars improved to 12-2-2 against Pacific Division opponents. ... Vermettes career-best, eight-game point streak matches Shane Doans for the longest of the season for the Coyotes. ... Vermette (367) and teammate Keith Yandle (359) extended the third- and fourth-longest active consecutive games played streaks in the NHL. ... The Coyotes have won consecutive games just once since mid-December. Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap Adidas Hockey Jerseys Wholesale Nike Baseball Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys From China Wholesale Jerseys China Wholesale NFL Jerseys China Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap Nike NBA Jerseys Authentic Cheap NHL Jerseys Canada Cheap Nike MLB Jerseys Cheap Soccer Jerseys China NCAA Jerseys Cheap Nike NHL Jerseys China Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys Store Cheap Football Jerseys Store Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Jerseys NCAA China Jerseys NFL Cheap Cheap Nike NBA Jerseys ' ' '


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