This one seems like it should be one of the easiest areas of the squad to evaluate, and if we stick with what is technically the remit of this series - What's the situation RIGHT NOW - it is very simple. Of the players that are signed up and ready to play, Eric Hassli's the clear number one choice.
If TFC go with just the one forward in a 4-2-3-1 formation as suggested by Dave yesterday, then with Danny Koevermans injured, Hassli's the obvious first choice, as he should be with that DP tag. There are the obvious question marks around him though, starting with will he be here? Despite his media day denial there's plenty of smoke out there, and a move elsewhere may be the best for both parties, allowing TFC to free up a DP spot if there's another target they want to bring in or just free up cap space to improve the overall squad, which may be the best bet at this stage. If he's here and in the right frame of mind though, Hassli remains a very good striker at this level and should link well with talented players like Luis Silva, Kyle Bekker or some as yet unknown new signing behind him. If Wiedeman and Lambe end up being our best options as wide midfielders as is the situation currently, then it'll be more tough and frustrating times ahead for Hassli.
The next option is Justin Braun. To say he lacks the skill and technique of Hassli would be an understatement but his size and hold up play would be good things, as well as his work rate to press the opposition as the first line of defence, I'm very comfortable with him as a backup, though hope we don't end up having to rely too much on him.
Beyond that, there's no obvious candidates to fill that lone striker role, with Andrew Wiedeman an awkward option and Emery Welshmen probably the best choice, with the skills to play as a striker and history at college of doing that, if not the experience at this level. Koevermans will obviously jump to the top of the chart when fit, and hopefully by the time we do the post pre-season version of this there'll be other options we know of, even if only Quincy Amarikwa or supplemental draftee Ashton Bennett. For now though, it's a case of hold your breath and hope Hassli stays fit until Koevermans is back.
If TFC go with two up front, without dipping into the midfielders/wingers (and that's a worryingly thin group already) then there's only one option currently, it'd be Hassli playing off Braun. New signings will hopefully provide more options, but without that then we have to look at those midfield options.
Luis Silva worked really quite well with Hassli last year, scoring goals and setting them up, so would probably be the best option, though also the most valuable to be taking out of the midfield. Beyond that, again there's Andrew Wiedeman which is an underwhelming option, and Emery Welshman, much more intriguing than Wiedeman, and probably more suited to this role than he would be as a lone striker. Exactly where TFC staff see Welshman as fitting in is one of the more intriguing positional questions of the pre season.
Midfield and upfront are definitely the areas that need to have the biggest improvements in quality and quantity by the time we get around to our post-pre-season depth chart, but for now, in the interests of making the best out of the players we have, square pegs in square holes, round pegs in round holes and all that, then we'll go with the lone striker to go with the 5 man midfield detailed yesterday. Which leaves the forward depth chart looking like this.
|Danny Koevermans (when fit)|