By John Zielonka
led a schizophrenic existence in their second MLS season.
Their home unbeaten streak lasted until
mid-August, while away points proved difficult to garner.
The squad had difficulty in maintaining consistency
when away from BMO Field and lacked depth when losing too many players to
and Olympic duties.
these problems, Toronto remained in the hunt for a playoff spot until
two weeks of the season. Four points
separated them and New York for the final spot in the playoffs. Two away wins would have secured TFC’s first
appearance in the post season.
An impressive early season six-game unbeaten streak, where TFC
of those games at home, solidified Greg Sutton’s hold as the starting
goalkeeper. In those five home games, he
shutout the opposition in four of the matches.
Statistics bear out TFC’s Jekyll and Hyde existence once the team
confines of BMO Field. At home, they
allowed 12 goals in 15 games; the league’s second lowest total. In away games, the leaky defense let in 31
goals, tying TFC for the league’s second highest total.
Offensively, several notable players moved to greener pastures. Maurice Edu left a hole in the midfield after
his transfer to the Glasgow Rangers. Brian McBride, the experienced English Premier League scorer,
played a game for Toronto, as he was instead dealt to his hometown Chicago Fire.
During the 2008 season, the Reds often needed to make emergency signings
or use a makeshift
lineup that included too many reserves.
World Cup qualifiers and the 2008 Olympics left out quality
players at a
crucial point in the middle part of the season.
The likes of Brennan, Edu, Guevara, James, Marshall, Carl
Smith, Sutton and Wynne all left to play for their respective countries.
The urgent situation became dire when TFC needed
to sign a 39-year-old semipro and team scout to fill out the game time
To address the issues in 2008 and build on the playoff near-miss,
add depth to its squad in 2009.
greatest success occurred in stretches when the roster was full and
stable. The team's passionate fans
can then look forward to their first playoff appearance.
Goal.com provides a
monthly synopsis of highlights, lowlights and other tidbits during the
Marvell Wynne and Todd Dunivant, as well as midfielder Maurice Edu, are
the U.S. National Team’s training camp roster.
sends midfielder Ronnie O’Brien to San Jose for a first
round pick in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft.
Jarrod Smith, defender Marco Velez and midfielder Tyler Rosenlund are
developmental contracts. In the away
game season opener, Columbus Crew beats Toronto 2-0. Record: 0 wins, 0 ties, 1 loss
April: The team signs
Amado Guevara from Chivas USA and Rohan Ricketts from
Barnsley in the English Championship, and
free agent defender Olivier Tebily. Toronto
loses to DC United after letting in two early goals and playing a man
a red card is issued to Kevin Harmse. They beat
LA Galaxy 3-2 at the Home Depot
Center for first win of the season. Record:
3 wins, 0 ties, 1 loss
unbeaten streak ends with 3-2 away loss to DC United. Despite
having six players out due to
injuries, suspensions and international responsibilities, reserves step
shutout LA Galaxy 2-0. Toronto remains
unbeaten at home. Record: 2 wins, 2
ties, 1 loss
defender Pat Phelan to New England Revolution and sign Abdus Ibrahim
Dallas. Toronto is unable to overcome
multi-goal deficits in away game defeats to Houston and New England. Home unbeaten streak reaches eight games.
1 win, 1 tie, 2 losses
Huckerby is traded to San Jose Earthquakes.
Newly acquired forward Abdus Ibrahim scores goal in his first
against Chicago Fire. Captain Jim
Brennan is named to the MLS All-Star Game. Marvell
Wynne and Maurice Edu are selected to play in Beijing for US Men’s Olympic
Team. Road woes continue with only one
win and one tie since the start of the season.
Record: 0 wins, 1 tie, 1 loss
Carlos Ruiz acquired from LA Galaxy for first and second round picks in
MLS Supplemental Draft. Maurice Edu
transfers to Scottish League side Glasgow Rangers. Short-handed
Toronto loses 2-0 to FC Dallas
and ends home unbeaten streak. Record:
win, 1 tie, 3 losses
Hunter Freeman obtained from New York Red Bulls. Winless streak reaches
seven games putting the playoffs in jeopardy. Record: 0
wins, 2 ties, 2 losses
from playoffs after 3-2 loss to Chicago Fire.
Season ends with 2-0 loss against San Jose. Still, team has achieved ten
point improvement from 2007 season. Midfielder
Carl Robinson named as the team’s
Most Valuable Player. Record: 2
wins, 1 tie, 1 loss
Jarrod Smith selected by Seattle Sounders FC in the 2008 Expansion
tickets, capped at 16,000, are sold out for the 2009 MLS season.
John Zielonka is the Seattle correspondent for Goal.com