So, Big Phil has named his squad for the 2014 World Cup, you've probably already seen the list by now, but if not, here's the squad in full. There's a few big name omissions, Kaka most notably, but it still looks pretty good really doesn't it?
Anyway, the reason it gets a mention here is of course Julio Cesar is one of the goalkeepers, and despite being merely on loan, it's Toronto FC that get their name attached to him in all the coverage. Not a surprise in any way, but still kind of fun to see, no? Michael Bradley will also of course be going along, so the only real surprise will be if Jermian Defoe sneaks into the England squad or not.
This does of course confirm that Cesar will miss a bunch of games for TFC, though he himself mentioned that he'll probably be around up to the 23rd for the game against Sporting Kansas City, so it should be just the games against Columbus and San Jose that he misses beforehand. He's more likely than Bradley or Defoe to miss games after MLS' break when the knockout stages are still happening, so you can add potentially another 4 or 5 games to that depending on how far Brazil go.
Of course, Cesar will still be doing his main job for TFC the whole time he's gone, marketing. It's cool to say 'hey Brazil's goalie is playing for TFC!' but really, on the pitch, has he been all that impressive? I can think of the odd save here and there, occasionally quite spectacular, but any goalie can come up with a few highlights. I can't think of one game where Cesar's made the difference, where he's stolen a point or singlehandedly won a game. Has anyone ever once thought 'wow, good job that wasn't Bendik out there for that game, or we'd have been screwed?'
It's not just a general impression either, let's go to stats. 9 goals allowed in 7 games? That's nothing special, over 34 games that'd be 44, a slight improvement over last year's 47. Save percentage? 67%, again a slight improvement over the 65% Bendik got last season, but it's very mediocre, here's where that puts him among MLS goalies this year. A small sample size yes, amid a tough schedule, sure, but he's not really had the impact you'd hope for from such a big name or cap hit (even if $200,000 is a tiny fraction of his actual wages, it's still a sizable amount, especially when you add up just how much TFC is spending on goalkeepers all together). Really, as a player, I genuinely don't think we'll miss him that much.
But of course the main reason he's here is the sizzle, the off the pitch stuff. There's already been a lot of worldwide publicity around him being here, and really that was just the foreplay to what's going to be a month long money shot, with Toronto FC's name going to be mentioned in matches watched by massive audiences. Tim Leiweke's talked about wanting to be a 'Superclub' and as pointed out in this article 'a superclub needs global reocgnition', so really Cesar's work, the really important stuff that convinced Leiweke and Bezbatchenko to bring him on board is just starting.