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Toronto FC 2011 Top 40 Countdown: Number 2 - Danny Koevermans.

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Hoping to see many more of Koevermans' jumpy celebrations next year.
Photo courtesy <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stephaniegunther" target="new">Stephanie Gunther photography</a>
Hoping to see many more of Koevermans' jumpy celebrations next year. Photo courtesy Stephanie Gunther photography

Easily the best striker Toronto FC have ever had, and the only player who had no votes outside of the top 5. Number 2 in the Top 40 Countdown is Danny Koevermans.

Average Ranking: 2.682
Highest ranking: 1
Lowest ranking: 5

Duncan: 2. I'll fully admit that when his signing was announced along with that of Torsten Frings in that blockbuster press conference back at the end of June, I was sceptical about the impact Danny Koevermans would have. Sure, he had a decent scoring record in Holland, but then Mista had done well in Spain, as had Julian de Guzman, Laurent Robert had a few good years in England and MLS as a whole was littered with disappointing DP players, how would these two do?

Any football fan who grew up in England in the 80's and 90's as I did, knows two things about German and Dutch footballers. Firstly, and this made me very confident that no matter how his skills might have faded with age, Frings would absolutely give TFC his best and would be an undeniable positive influence in the dressing room, Germans win. They just do. Even when they don't actually win, they naturally have it within them to make the most of their talent, and as a team come together and be more than the sum of their parts. Then beat England on penalties. Annoying bastards.

But if my Big Bumper Book Of British Footballing Stereotypes About Johnny Foreigner has nothing but grudgingly good things to say about the Germans, it's a different story when it comes to the Dutch. Sure they're talented, but they're also flighty, volatile, inconsistent, individualistic and as a team almost guaranteed to implode and not live up to their talent.

Combine that thought with the history of DP's who've come to TFC and MLS at the end of their careers and gone through the motions and disappointed, and I could do no more than take a deep breath, and hope to the footie gods that he'd prove me wrong. I could not be more delighted to say he did.

Regular readers here will know that I'm a big Chad Barrett fan, I love that guy, and he's one of my favourite TFC players ever, so it feels a bit wierd that the best compliment I can pay Koevermans is that he's the anti Chad Barrett. Unlike Barrett, he doesn't really look all that impressive out there on a minute by minute basis and doesn't do as much running around to create chances, and quite frankly he just looks unathletic. What he does have in abundance though, again unlike Barrett, is a pure strikers instinct. Give him chances in the box and he'll score at a very very good rate. He scored 8 MLS goals in 10 games, on a goals per minute ratio of 0.95 which was well ahead of anyone else in the league who played any kind of regular minutes, and would equate to a ridiculous 32 goals over a 34 game season. Add in his crucial CCL game winning goals against Tauro and Dallas and it's a fantastic mini-season.

That 'give him chances in the box' sentence isn't really fair to him though, as it suggests everyone else is doing the hard work and he's just finishing it off, when in reality it's his movement in the box that helps create so many of these chances. A lot of his goals came from crosses into the box, and the first few times he scored, I couldn't help but think "what the hell is the defence doing, leaving him that wide open?'. It happened often enough to realise that it's nothing to do with bad defence, and is all about Koevermans ability to lose his marker. A sudden change of pace or direction, and he's got that yard of space which is all he needs to be able to get a good shot off.

See it here against new England as he slows from a jog to a walk, lets his marker drift away, then makes his run in to meet the cross. See it here against New York as he runs away from goal to the Left Wing, leaving his Centre Back marking no-one and has plenty of time to score. See it here against Colorado as he darts between two ball watching defenders to get a free header 10 yards out from a cross that everyone knows is about to happen. See it here against Colorado again (2:40 in), as he drifts to the near post, then as his marker stops watching, peels off and goes to the back post to meet the cross for an unmarked tap in. This one against Kansas City? well that one is just straight up terrible defending, there's no-one near him.

It's the sort of instinctive play that is really world class and is just way too good for your average MLS defender and It's exemplified perfectly in his most important goal of the year against Dallas. He runs casually alongside the defender as if heading for the back post, then suddenly darts behind him to the near post and has enough time to mess up his first shot and still have room to bury the second chance. TFC have had a lot of different strikers over the years with various different strengths, but this is the first time we've had someone with such natural goalscoring instincts.

Pretty much the entire time he was here, he was reported as 'approaching full fitness' but never seemed to actually get there. With a full off-season to rest and a full pre-season to get into full fitness, he'll hopefully look even better in 2012. While it's unrealistic to hope for a similarly phenomenal rate of scoring over the course of a season, the 20 goal barrier and an MLS golden boot look like very realistic targets, and that would go a long way to finally bringing TFC some meaningful success.

Dave: 3.The first pure goalscorer to ever pull on the TFC shirt and then really live up to the billing. He scored on a rate that was close to a goal every 90 minutes since he joined the club at the same time as Frings. Koef is a former Dutch international (just barely) and has proven to have the quality to be a scoring threat anytime he finds the ball at his feet. He could go 89 minutes of the game without getting a single chance but like the best forwards in the world when you give him half a chance he will score more times than not. Winter seems to have used his Dutch connections to bring the big striker in and it is a move that has already paid off. Fans will now be salivating at the idea of seeing him in action when he has no nagging injuries and has had a full preseason to prepare. He will be TFC's leading scorer in no time.

Keaton: 2. Koef is on the same wave length as Frings for me. Koevermans is just a flat out scoring machine. He is easily the most talented out and out striker we've ever seen play for the Reds. Every time he touches the ball, I legit think he's either going to score or create something. I love this Dutch dude.

Ignirtoq: Thank you Mr. Koevermans for coming. I haven't seen a proper forward on this side ever.

Devon Taylor: A goal every 90 minutes (or so) of play. Too bad we didn't have that production in the first half of the season.

Canadian Texan: He scores goals...a lot

Jimmy Stone: Arguably Toronto's most important player if they are to challenge for the play-offs next season. Goal Machine.

The Yorkies: Our first real striker in 5 years

Macs_Daddy: Best signing TFC has ever made, he likes to make goals and I love him for it

JC_Plante: The best DP signing we ever had. And amongst the top ever. Does what a DP should do, score goals. And that scoring rate!!!

James: Too late to make a huge impact on the season, but future bodes well with a fit, happy, big man named Danny up top.

Kristin: The goal scorer that TFC has never had. Pure striker. Should net 20 next year.

Peter Meraw: Showed up out of shape but quickly began to play like the perfect MLS striker, big, strong and cagey

Number 3: Joao Plata
Number 1: Torsten Frings

Full Top 40 so far.