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ICTPAISLEY

MLS Pre-season

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Another two teams enter this season (NYC, and Orlando) and there has been a few decent transfers for the league.  Kaka, Villa, Gerrard and possibly Lampard?? being the biggest stars to move over this year.  Although Toronto have lost defoe they have replaced him with Altidore and a new signing of Giovinco from Juventus.  I don't know the player too well but he's played for Italy a few times and he's still only 27.  It has to be a good move for the league to get younger European players over.  It leaves them with 4 designated players though with only 3 allowed.  I wonder if they are going to increase it to 4 DPs for the new season, personally I would keep it at 3 and increase the salary cap for the rest of the squad instead giving a chance to bring through better quality from other leagues. 

 

Scotty how are you feeling about Toronto's chances this season?

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After 8 seasons of s*** it can only be better this year ... cant it?

Seriously though, I am mildly optimistic for this season .... thats about as good as you can hope for with TFC as the owners MLSE usually manage to screw things up somewhere along the lines every year ... look up Toronto Maple Leafs and/or Toronto Raptors for additional evidence of that !

 

 

Defoe was a liability for TFC. I said when he signed that it would all end in tears and it did.  Don't get me wrong, I loved every goal he scored for TFC and some were absolute beauties, but it was clear very early on that he was only here for a big pay-cheque .... with a side order of playing regularly and hoping to make the world cup squad. This is the same reason Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar started the season with us too but at least with him we knew it was a short term loan where everybody wins. After Defoe didnt make the England squad, I think he just thought "f*** it" and ever since then he has been nursing injuries that for some reason required treatment back in England. Apparently his mum - who journalists have reported had a house in Toronto bought (rented?) for her by TFC - has a big influence in all his decisions and after the world cup snub the rumours began circulating that there was a fallout with TFC and he was to go back to England with Harry Redknapp favourite to capture his signature. TFC turned down a QPR bid on the last day of the transfer window in August.    

 

I fear Giovinco may be cut from the same cloth. He's 27, was a regular in the Italian squad and in the Juventus team but has lost both spots more recently. I am not sure that playing in MLS will enhance his chances of getting back into the international fold but it should help fill BMO field. Toronto has a fairly sizeable Italian ex-pat community and an 8400 capacity extension opening in May with a further stadium expansion slated for next year .... they need bums on seats and the Italian community has not yet embraced TFC. At a rumoured salary of $7m per year (or £90K per week in UK money) they better hope this effort works.

 

It is seen around the league as a big step though ... with current US internationals like Bradley, Altidore, Dempsey, Edu etc., coming back to MLS in their prime, and with the usual influx of 30-somethings like Gerrard, Kaka, Villa, Lampard, adding a player like Giovinco who is seen as a current international player in his prime as opposed to a returning American or an older foreigner is huge ..... some say its bigger than the Beckham or Thierry Henry signings at LA or New York ... I remain to be convinced.

 

I have less reservations about Altidore though. Michael Bradley apparently restructured his own DP deal so his good friend and US team-mate could sign for the club in the swap deal for Defoe. I hope we get the Altidore that played in Holland and not the EPL version! I am mildly optimistic on this front as he and Bradley do have history and chemistry together and Bradley seems to be here for the long haul and will no doubt replace Steven Caldwell as captain in the next season or two.   

 

As for the other DP, the fans love Gilberto. He took a while to get started, and it looked like he would never score, but once he did he started scoring a few. He really works his b******* off in every game and is a firm fan favourite. Like Matias Laba last year who ended up at Vancouver to make way for Michael Bradley coming in, then Gilberto may be offloaded if TFC are not allowed 4 DPs. The current rules allow only 3 DPs but the players new "collective bargaining agreement" is currently being negotiated and there are rumours that a 4th DP spot - which can only be occupied by a 'domestic' - may be on the agenda but that would work for TFC as both Altidore and Bradley are 'domestic' in the eyes of the league. The other option is to pay down his salary to a non-DP level using a mechanism called "allocation" money. Its shrouded in mystery most of the time and no-one knows how much each team has but TFC should have enough from all the recent wheeling and dealing to reduce the salary in league terms to make Gilberto a non-DP if he agrees to it (which is by no means certain). If not, we will lose him and most fans would be sorry to see him go .... perhaps ICT can get him on loan to replace Billy !!!!

 

 

 

Gilberto's first goal for TFC

 

 

TFCs stadium expansion for 2015 and 2016

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