When Ryan Nelsen took over as manager at Toronto FC, he brought a certain level of knowledge about Major League Soccer. He had played in (and won) the league less than a decade ago, and immediately started building his squad with MLS talent. TFC’s current General Manager, Tim Bezbatchenko, came to the team soon after.

Bezbatchenko is unlike any other GM Toronto has ever had – because he knows how this league works. He was hired for the position straight out of the league’s head office in New York, bringing a wealth of knowledge of league rules and loopholes with him. This combination has lead TFC to acquiring a number of players who are known commodities in MLS, making them stronger than ever.

This past off-season saw lots of big names join the fray at BMO Field – Michael Bradley and Jermaine Defoe took most of the headlines. However, they managed the pick up Justin Morrow from the San Jose Earthquakes by trading allocation money (a fictional currency that is traded within the league and can be cashed out when a team buys a player from abroad).

Morrow has proved to be one of the most successful defenders in TFC history. Playing mostly as a full back, Morrow moves up and down the field with great pace but also great control. He is rarely out of position and always helps a sometimes shaky, centre-defensive core.

Dominc Oduro was acquired from Columbus soon after the season started, when TFC offered struggling Spanish winger Alvaro Rey for the speedy striker. Somehow, Columbus accepted the deal – giving Toronto one of the best MLS strikers in the past several years.

Oduro has a lot of speed and leaves defenders constantly on edge. His quickness in the box has left him in fantastic position to score almost every game. He can play as a winger or striker, which has worked out for an injury-riddled TFC. Most importantly, he has a track record of success in MLS, with over 40 goals in eight seasons in the league. It might not seem like much, but it is a great strike rate for any attacker in MLS.

What about Alvaro Rey? Columbus dropped him after two matches.

Finally, Jackson Henrique Gonçalves Pereira was acquired by Toronto during the off-season, sending a conditional second-round draft pick and allocation money to FC Dallas. Pereira is a tall, lanky winger who can push his way around any midfield in MLS. He is one of the few wide players in MLS that can dominate the physical nature of the league.

While players like Oduro would try and move around defenders, Jackson tries to go right through them. In last week’s 3-0 win over Chivas USA, Jackson was running between two defenders inside the box when Gilberto slipped him a pass. Other wingers would get pushed off the ball, but not Jackson.
Previous Article
Next Article