One of the biggest myths in the world of sports is the sophomore slump, but for Nick Hagglund this myth was a reality for him this season. After a successful first season as a rookie coming out of the draft, this season is one that Hagglund will want to put behind him.
Average Rating: 21.3
Highest Rating: 18
Lowest Rating: 25
Coming off a strong first season, many hoped that Hagglund could take the next big step and establish himself as a starter in the backline. Early on in 2015, this looked to be a definite possibility as it appeared as if Hagglund was getting a chance to earn the spot in training camp. It seemed that this season would have him and Steven Caldwell battling for the centre back spot partnering Damien Perquis.
It turned out that Hagglund would start the first two games of the season on the bench, but once captain Steven Caldwell went down with what turned to be a career ending injury, Hagglund was given his opportunity to establish himself as a starter for the team.
Hagglund ended up only getting a seven game run in the starting 11, after some mediocre performances saw him dropped from the lineup. While he did have some good games during this stretch, it was his performance at right back that may have began his downward spiral of a season. It was during the late night delayed Dallas game where Hagglund was outmatched early, easily being beaten down the wing twice, as Toronto went down 2-0 early in the game.
Although he would start another four games at centre back after the Dallas game, he was never able to show the same form as he did in his rookie season. As a result, Hagglund saw himself lose his spot in the lineup to Eriq Zavaleta, who would play the majority of games down the stretch before the arrival of Josh Williams.
It wasn't as if Hagglund could do anything about it, as on July 16th he was forced to have surgery in order to get his appendix removed. It wouldn't be until late August when Hagglund could begin training with the team again, as he was loaned to TFC II in order to get some match fitness back.
By the time Hagglund was fit enough to rejoin the team, there was not much room for him. With the likes of Perquis, Kantari, Williams, and Zavaleta all ahead of him on the depth chart, Hagglund struggled to make the bench by years end.
With the addition of Drew Moor, it does not appear that Hagglund is any closer to getting himself back in contention for a spot in the starting 11. He currently sits sixth on the team's depth chart at centre back, most likely fifth if Ahmed Kantari's contract is bought out, and will have to compete hard if he wants to give himself a chance to compete.
There are two ways in which this offseason could play out for Hagglund. The first would be for the team to view him as a tradable asset that they could use to acquire depth at another position. Whether it be for a winger, goalkeeper, or destroyer in the midfielder, Hagglund could be used as trade bait to bring in one of these much needed pieces.
The most likely scenario would see Hagglund returning to the team, low on the team's depth chart. If this is the case, Hagglund would be kept as depth in case of injury. This could potentially lead to him seeing more minutes with TFC II, or perhaps going out on loan to an NASL team such as the Ottawa Fury.
2015 was a season to forget for Nick Hagglund. Despite this, he is still a relatively young player who has the potential to still become an MLS calibre starter. The question going into the offseason is whether or not that will be as a part of the Toronto FC organization.