So season 5 is in the books and we all know that it is never too early to look back. We have already seen Duncan's attempt to assemble an all time worst XI for Toronto FC which proved how many flops this club has had. Duncan probably took on the harder task with that list as he could have filled two teams worth of bad players in most positions. The best XI is tricky in a different way as the club has had so few players who have stood out enough to be automatic choices for the list.
Since the 4-3-3 is only one season old in Toronto, I decided to go with the more traditional 4-4-2 for my side as that is basically what Toronto FC used the most in the first four seasons. That said, some players ended up being in slots other than their best position for the sake of fitting them into the side.
In making my best XI I consulted the opinion of a few other fine folks but the end product is all me so that of course means there is plenty of room for disagreement. So feel free to voice your feelings on who should have made the team in the comment section.
G - Stefan Frei: Not really much debate here for me. Frei is now the club's leader in appearances, is a clear fan favourite, and has been the most skilled keeper the club has had. When you add in the fact that Frei has worn the captains arm band on a number of occasions for the club he seems like the most obvious choice of anyone that will be on this list. Frei has now made 95 appearances for TFC and as long as he is around come March he will certainly be the first player to reach the 100 appearance mark for the club.
RB - Marvell Wynne: Did not take me long to get to a player who will probably be up for debate. Many folks will probably feel that Richard Eckersley is a better option but Wynne ended up taking the spot for years served. Though Ecks is probably the better player Marvell was a solid contributor for TFC for a number of seasons as he collected 67 league appearances and scored the only 2 goals of his career. He was well liked by TFC fans when he was with the club as he was one of the more exciting players for the young expansion side. This position really was a two horse race and could have gone either way but Wynne was around longer and contributed more over that time despite not being as talented of a player.
CB - Adrian Cann: Cann gets in this team primarily on the strength of his 2010 season. That year Toronto FC had probably its best season at the back end and it was mainly due to his skill and leadership. It is safe to say that CB is one of the weakest positions in the history of this club so Cann gets the nod despite only playing just more than a full season having joined before 2010 and then missing out on most of this season due to a knee injury. I am willing to set aside all the drama of last preseason where Cann was late to join the team over contract issues and instead focus on the fact that since Torsten Frings is not actually a CB Cann is the best option at the position.
CB - Nana Attakora: His inclusion in the squad probably further illustrates how badly TFC has been hurting for a quality CB its entire history. For me the second CB slot came down to a race between Nana and Adrian Serioux but it goes to Nana in the end due to a couple of reasons. Attakora was partnered with Cann for much of that solid 2010 season and despite falling off in 2011 and then being traded, he remains well liked among TFC fans. Nana had more appearances for the club as he was with them since 2007 while Serioux was only here for the 2009 season. So for the sake of having put together a good 2009 season and a very good 2010 season Nana Attakora gets the win and the spot in this team.
LB - Jim Brennan: The captain! There really is not much of a case needed for why I have decided to put Brennan in this team. From day one of the clubs existence he has been one of the faces of the franchise and in the early days he was the clear on field leader. On top of that Brennan was a solid player at both ends of the field as he was capable of defending well and then getting forward to swing in good crosses or even chip in a goal. Jim Brennan was the clubs leader in appearances until this season when Frei passed him but sadly he decided to retire before he got to 100 caps for the club or 50 for Canada. For me this choice was a no doubter no matter how much I like Ashtone Morgan.
CDM - Torsten Frings: The powerful German only needed one partial season to make his way into this side. He managed to be that influential in his short time with the club as he took a back line that was in complete shambles and managed to make it look competent. I don't think it is an overstatement to suggest that without Frings the 2011 season would have been a complete loss, as it was his calming influence and skill in the defensive third that helped TFC reach the CCL quarter finals, and do much better in the league. His legacy with the club should only continue to grow next year as he will hopefully get a full season in.
CM - Maurice Edu: He was Toronto FC's first ever draft pick and proved to be worth the first overall selection that they spent on him. In his one and a half seasons with the Reds Mo showed that he had the skills to do well in an MLS midfield as when he was on his game he was often the best player on the field for the team. His two seasons with the club were impressive enough to secure him a move to Rangers, which allegedly paid for our fancy grass playing surface, and were enough to get him included in this team. His handful of goals with the club were a bit of a letdown but his real value was as a ball winner and playmaker rather than a goal scorer.
RW - Joao Plata: Big Joao makes this team for being one of the most lovable faces the club has ever had. His one season with the club saw him show that he is a big game player. His efforts in the Voyageurs Cup, where his performance in the replayed second leg of the final were what vaulted TFC to the title, earned him the tournament MVP award. He followed that up with a solid game, and a brace, in the first leg win over Real Esteli that helped the club advance to the group stage. Then, luckily for every one of us he saved his best for that game against FC Dallas which I am sure we all still remember vividly. Even if his performances can often be a bit inconsistent those three performances are more than enough to merit a place in this squad.
LW - Dwayne De Rosario: I did warn you that some players were going to be in positions that are not their natural spot. I had to have De Ro in this team so here he is playing out wide which would probably have made him mope around and not have a good game. If we set aside the way that he left the club following that whole Celtic mess DeRo is an obvious choice for this team. His record of 32 goals in 75 games for the club is the best strike total for TFC despite not being a true out and out striker. De Ro will long be one of the more controversial figures around the club as some fans continue to think he can do no wrong and others really give him a hard time whenever he is not at his very best. The fact that he went on to win an MLS MVP award after being traded does hurt though. He beat out some tough competition in Vitti and Ricketts for this spot but De Ro ended up here so that neither of those two could!
F - Chad Barrett: I swear his inclusion is not just because Duncan told me to have him in the side. The fact of the matter is that in my opinion he has been a bigger contributor to the club than Danny Dichio or Maicon Santos were. It was a tight race but in the end the fact is that Barrett has the most appearances by a TFC forward at 78 and is also the second leading scorer over the 5 years having netted 21 times before being traded.
CF - Danny Koevermans: He is the club's first true goal scorer and was lethal in his one part season. He made 17 appearances for the club and netted 10 times over that span which actually has him already at 7th in TFC's all time scoring list. As far as natural CF's go the main competition for the spot would be Danny Dichio but if you compare the strike rates of the two, well there really is no comparison, so Mr. 24th minute himself ends up on the bench while the Big Dutchman will be leading the line on this all time team.
G - Milos Kocic: I might have put Greg Sutton here but he made the worst XI instead. If you look at pure skill Kocic is probably deserving of this place and the only reason he might have missed out on it was time served. The good news for him is that his short time as the teams starter was impressive and saw him be a key factor in the CCL success.
D - Adrian Serioux: He just missed out on the first team because he was only with the club for one season but the Canadian international had a very solid year in 2009 which is enough to get him on the bench ahead of talented players like Ty Harden
D - Richard Eckersley: Another player who barely missed the first team due to the fact that he was not with the club long enough to overcome a player that has played a longer time. If he is back for even one more season it will probably be enough for him to overtake Wynne as the starter on this team.
M - Carl Robinson: He made 84 appearances for the club and was named TFC's player of the year for both 2007 and 2008. He actually deserves to be in the first team but my love of Torsten Frings was probably to blame for him being relegated to the bench. That and the fact that Frings was part of Toronto's only real success so far while Robinson was a key member of several poor teams.
M - Julian De Guzman: Call me crazy but the fact is that he has been a decent midfielder for the club. He was nowhere near making the starting lineup for me but having him on the bench makes good sense as he was much improved this season. The Canadian international is probably the most overpaid player the club may ever have but his on field play as a holding midfielder was solid enough to make the team.
M - Amando Guevara: He makes the bench as probably the best creative midfielder the club has had. He played nearly 50 games for the team and was a consistent factor in whatever offense the team did manage to generate. His 11 goals for the club have him in the top 5 all time but his spot in this team was for all the chances he created for the likes of Chad Barrett. What they all did with those chances is a very different story.
F - Danny Dichio: It was a tight race between Dichio and Santos but in the end the man who scored the clubs very first goal gets the spot on the bench for being a far more likeable player. He managed to chip in 14 goals for the club which is a decent return but Danny Dichio will always be remembered for the fact that he scored the clubs first ever goal. Long may his name be sung in the 24th minute.
So there you have it, a complete side for Toronto FC. In the end the team I built features many of the clubs appearance leaders and a lot of the names from the top of the scoring chart rather then some of the more talented players the club has seen. Hopefully in another five years this list becomes ever harder to compile with so many good options or at the very least there are a few more no brainers as some of the young talent the club now has continues to develop and impress.