What could Toronto FC do for an encore?
Having become the first team in league history to claim a domestic treble — winning the MLS Cup, Supporters' Shield and Canadian Championship — the 2017 TFC squad could legitimately lay claim to the title of greatest team in MLS history.
For the likes of Sebastian Giovinco, Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, the task now turns to defending those crowns while chasing down the white whale of MLS: a CONCACAF Champions League title. Ten weeks after lifting the MLS Cup, Toronto kicks off 2018 with a CCL round of 16 first leg against the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
How did Toronto FC perform in 2017?
2017 finish: First in Eastern Conference (20-5-9), won the MLS Cup
If the unprecedented treble wasn't enough, there was another historic feather in TFC's cap last season: The Reds compiled the most points in MLS history, and no team has won the Supporters' Shield by a larger margin.
After that dominant regular season, TFC squeaked past the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew in the Eastern Conference playoffs. A year after falling short against the Seattle Sounders on penalties in the MLS Cup final, Toronto brought redemption to BMO Field with a 2-0 victory over the Sounders in the 2018 title game.
Toronto FC's key offseason losses
Steady right back Steven Beitashour was the only starter to part ways with the club, signing with Los Angeles FC as a free agent. Promising winger Raheem Edwards could be the more notable departure long term, as the Canada international left via the expansion draft before ending up with rival Montreal.
Toronto also moved on from Armando Cooper and Benoit Cheyrou, veterans who had fallen down the depth chart after playing key roles in the club's success the past couple years.
Toronto FC's key offseason additions
Former Netherlands international Gregory van der Wiel comes in to replace Beitashour at right back after recent stints in France, Turkey and Italy, bringing pedigree to a position often occupied by journeymen and prospects.
The club also added Brazilian fullback Auro on loan from Sau Paulo and inked forward Ayo Akinola and midfielder Liam Fraser to homegrown deals.
Full Toronto FC roster entering 2018 season
Goalkeepers: Alex Bono, Clint Irwin, Caleb Patterson-Sewell
Defenders: Auro, Nick Hagglund, Nicolas Hasler, Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Ashtone Morgan, Justin Morrow, Gregory van der Wiel, Eriq Zavaleta
Midfielders: Michael Bradley, Jay Chapman, Marky Delgado, Liam Fraser, Jonathan Osorio, Victor Vazquez
Forwards: Ayo Akinola, Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco, Jordan Hamilton, Tosaint Ricketts, Ben Spencer
Toronto FC's projected starting lineup
Having largely leaned on the 3-5-2 last season, Toronto coach Greg Vanney could deploy his side in the 4-4-2 that also has proved useful on occasion — including the MLS Cup final.
Bono has made the No. 1 job in goal his own, while Mavinga and Moor make Zavaleta the odd man out in central defense. No team in MLS can boast better fullbacks than Van der Wiel and Defender of the Year finalist Morrow.
Whatever the formation, it's safe to say Bradley will pull the strings in a deep-lying role while giving midfield maestro Vazquez freedom to roam. Chapman's development and the reported signing of Ager Aketxe from Athletic Bilbao could shake up the midfield picture, but Osorio and Delgado also are projected starters for now.
Up top, the prolific duo of Giovinco and Altidore figures to wreak havoc once more, with Ricketts and Hamilton offering useful depth.
Toronto FC's national TV coverage
Toronto FC vs. Columbus Crew - Saturday, March 3, at 1 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake - Friday, March 30, at 8 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United - Saturday, April 7, at 7:30 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union - Friday, May 4, at 8 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. Seattle Sounders - Wednesday, May 9, at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, TSN
New England Revolution vs. Toronto FC - Saturday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. Orlando City - Friday, May 18, at 8 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. FC Dallas - Friday, May 25, at 8 p.m. ET on TSN
Columbus Crew vs. Toronto FC - Saturday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m. ET on TSN
Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC - Friday, June 8, at 8 p.m. ET on TSN
New York City FC vs. Toronto FC - Sunday, June 24, at 5 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls - Sunday, July 1, at 4:30 p.m. ET on Fox, TSN
Sporting Kansas City vs. Toronto FC - Saturday, July 7, at 8:30 p.m. ET on TSN
Orlando City vs. Toronto FC - Saturday, July 14, at 8 p.m. ET on TSN
Chicago Fire vs. Toronto FC - Saturday, July 21, at 7 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. Chicago Fire - Saturday, July 28, at 7 p.m. ET on TSN
Atlanta United vs. Toronto FC - Saturday, Aug. 4, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN, TSN
Toronto FC vs. New York City FC - Sunday, Aug. 12, at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN, TSN
San Jose Earthquakes vs. Toronto FC - Saturday, Aug. 18, at 10 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact - Saturday, Aug. 25, at 8 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. Los Angeles FC - Saturday, Sept. 1, at 8 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. LA Galaxy - Saturday, Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m. ET on TSN
New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC - Saturday, Sept. 22, at 5 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. New England Revolution - Saturday, Sept. 29, at 7:30 p.m. ET on TSN
Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps - Saturday, Oct. 6, at 5 p.m. ET on TSN
Montreal Impact vs. Toronto FC - Sunday, Oct. 21, at TBD on TSN
Toronto FC vs. Atlanta United - Sunday, Oct. 28, at 4:30 p.m. ET on TSN