Editorial Note: Please welcome Derek Boucher to the Waking the Red team. It was Derek's brother who first piqued his interest in Toronto FC, but he truly found a passion for the club during a the club's come-from-behind 2-1 win over the Columbus Crew on a memorable rainy day in 2012.
At this time of year after previous seasons we could often look back at Toronto FC's Designated Players and feel a desire for something more. For now, we stop and reflect on what was a great year for the DPs at BMO Field.
Sebastian Giovinco, Gio, Seba, Atomic Ant, Golden Boot Winner, likely Landon Donovan Award Winner
He was the one man show that electrified the fans. He was a player who made me think twice about putting my attention elsewhere when he touched the ball - all it took was a 35-yard knuckling free kick May 2nd against the Union.
What more can be said that we don't already know? Giovinco put in the best season in MLS history. At times the gap in his ability on the pitch compared to his counterparts reminded me of the gap in ability you see when Messi takes on defenders (and no, I'm not saying he's even on the same planet as Messi).
We can make arguments for others but the goal scoring combined with the goal creating was second to none. It's frightening to think of where we may have been without his contributions this season. Does everyone remember when he was only supposed to show up midseason? Thank you Gio, and please do it again.
This was my favourite Giovinco moment of the year:
Could Toronto FC have the best attacking player, and best box-to-box midfielder in the MLS? I'd like to think so. Although, it remains to be seen which Michael Bradley may show up. Every version of Bradley is a good player but this year we saw him relieved of his role as a holding midfielder thanks to the presence of Benoit Cheyrou. We saw a player bomb forward and lead counter attacks. He created, he scored and he was the leader of the team.
Bradley did, however, end up too deep in our own end of the field in games. When Cheyrou was absent he was often forced to drop between the CBs to bring the ball forward which was reminiscent of last season. It will be extremely important to add a deep midfielder if Cheyrou does depart Toronto FC this offseason. It would be hard to find a better example and clip of Bradley that demonstrated his box to box ability than his goal against the Revolution.
I have mixed feelings about Jozy Altidore's season. He was occasionally a physical presence creating space for his teammates, but he may be remembered most for the games for which he didn't really show up.
It was a dream start for Jozy with 2 goals against the Whitecaps but injuries, suspensions and International duty (and later lack of) disrupted his season. Jozy contributed a modest 10 goals from open play which can be viewed as simply not good enough for a DP making $4,750,000.
What I saw in 2015 was a Toronto FC team that didn't play to any of Altidore's strengths. A narrow formation with balls played through the middle of the pitch neglected Jozy's aerial ability and strength. When the ball did get in the position for a cross it was rare that a decent ball would be played in.
Altidore voiced his opinion on the changing formation after the season and stated he hopes for more defined tactics next season. Overall, Altidore was underwhelming this year but has the ability to contribute more if Vanney wants to take advantage of his strengths. This is a goal we'd all like to see more of next year.