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Year in Review: Waking the Red’s 2018 Toronto FC Awards!

As far as years go, that one... went.

Richard Letovsky

A little later than we may have intended, but we’re finally ready to unveil Waking the Red’s 2018 awards for the Toronto FC season that was. Better late than never, eh? We, the WTR staff, have come up with a number of categories, and we’ve all submitted our votes. You, the readers, will have the final say, by voting on some awards in a series of polls.

We’ve got some serious awards, and some silly ones. Be prepared to look back on the ups and downs of 2018, and perhaps give everyone’s favourite players a bit of a light-hearted ribbing (all in fun, of course!).

It’s been a hell of a year, and certainly a trying one for TFC fans. Thank you for sticking with us through it all. (I also apologize in advance for Jeffrey’s more ludicrous award names. — C.O.C. :-*)

To make the page load just slightly faster, we’ve only included polls on the awards with more rigid definitions — it’s gonna be a monster of an article anyway. For all the rest, have your say in the comments. This gonna be a long post, so let’s get right into it, beginning with...

The Danny Dichio Seat Cushion Award
For TFC’s best goal of 2018

JPN (Jeffrey P. Nesker) - Sebastian Giovinco’s free kick vs. Tigres. Tigres literally put the entire XI in defence, and it didn’t make one lick of difference.

BR (Benedict Rhodes) - Jonathan Osorio vs Tigres. That goal was so unexpected and if he hadn’t scored it, we might not have had experienced the other Champions League moments that we enjoyed so much. I’m sure it also led to the confidence boost that he was riding all season.

MB (Matt Boyle) - Jonathan Osorio vs Tigres (Sorry to copy you BR, picked this one due to its context and the backheel).

COC (Charlie O’Connor-Clarke) - Since everyone else went with obvious picks, I’ll mix it up and throw in a vote for Giovinco’s screamer against Minnesota United.

MT (Mitchell Tierney) - Has to be the Oso backheel, really ignited the CCL run that would follow.

GL (Gianluca Lia) - Sebastian Giovinco vs Atlanta United — because, well, we crushed the future MLS Cup champions 4-1. Giovinco’s goal was brilliant in itself in the way he attacked the area and hit a first-timer while sliding. Moreover, it put an end to a disappointing season, and that was a relief.

BF (Ben Fenech) - There’s something poetic about a perfect free kick, and they don’t get much better than Giovinco’s goal against Columbus.

P (Pamanci11) - I love Victor Vazquezgoal versus Philadelphia Union. He sees the ball is going behind him so he just flicks the ball from behind him - almost out of nowhere. Only a player of his skill can do that in a game.

TS (Tej Sahota) - the Oso backheel was a sign of things to come for the young Canadian forward.

JG (James Grossi) - Hard to argue against the Osorio backheel, so here’s a smorgasbord of some of the other memorable strikes from this year to fill out the conversation: Vazquez’ delicate floater against Chicago; Nick Hagglund’s double equalizers against D.C. – one and two; Vazquez’ sublime loop over NYCFC; this seven-pass evisceration of Sporting KC; Jordan Hamilton salvaging a point from range; Tosaint Ricketts late in Atlanta; Osorio’s Voyageurs Cup volley (and Doniel Henry’s own-goal); Seba’s header in the second leg and Jozy’s too (that near-post corner kick move looked familiar); Toronto slicing open LAFC; Greg van der Wiel’s cross for Vazquez against the Galaxy; and this Giovinco rip against the Revolution.

AS (Allan Singh) - Nutmeg’s goal against Orlando. It’s not easy for a squirrel to make it past a bunch of Lions.

Poll

Goal of the Year

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Giovinco free kick vs. Tigres
    (87 votes)
  • 55%
    Osorio backheel vs. Tigres
    (131 votes)
  • 1%
    Giovinco vs. Minnesota
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    Giovinco vs. Atlanta
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Giovinco vs. Columbus
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    Vazquez vs. Philadelphia
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    Other (comment!)
    (2 votes)
238 votes total Vote Now

The Paul Mariner “Best Finish of the Modern Era” Award
For the worst goal TFC conceded in 2018

JPN - Any of Darwin Quintero’s infinite goals against us, TFC vs. Minnesota, 7/4/18

BR - Carlos Vela’s first goal on September 1st. It was a frustrating goal because it took a ridiculous deflection and was another tense moment in the stands, as it seemed to destroy any hope of a playoff spot that fans had left. TFC vs. LAFC, 9/1/18

MB - Alan Pulido, TFC vs. Chivas, 4/17/18

COC - The penalty TFC gave up at the end of their 3-3 draw with Columbus, 6/2/18

MT - Either of the two they allowed against Orlando City on July 14, 2018

GL - Montreal’s winner against TFC in March - bloody deflection.

BF - The second goal against vs. New England in May. Two of TFC’s underperformers of the year (Aketxe and Bono) combining for a self-inflicted wound which characterized TFC’s season.

P - I remember being at the game when Toronto FC played Chivas Guadalajara at BMO Field. When Chivas scored their second goal on a free kick against Bono who was caught out. It just frustrates me a little how the whole CONCACAF Champions League Final could have turned out differently had he not made that mistake. But that’s soccer, and it’s a team sport.

TS - I’ve deleted all bad TFC goals from the hard drive.

JG - the first New York goal in the 2-0 loss at Red Bull Arena in September. It both summed up the entire season in one play and more-or-less put it to rest. Greg Vanney is fond of explaining that no goal against is the result of a single error; that goals comes down to players making plays. A midfield turnover with the side not shaped to defend that possibility, letting the ball drop, allowing the attacker to turn and face goal wide, a deflected cross, miscommunication and a bobbled collection attempt, a failure to clear the danger. There were so many opportunities for the play that prevented that goal to be made... 2018 in a nutshell.

AS - Too many to choose from. Brain is melting. Let’s go with this unfortunate one against New York, at Red Bull Arena.

Poll

Worst Goal Against

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Darwin Quintero (MNUFC), July 4
    (36 votes)
  • 10%
    Carlos Vela (LAFC), September 1
    (16 votes)
  • 35%
    Alan Pulido (Chivas), April 17
    (54 votes)
  • 7%
    Columbus penalty, June 2
    (12 votes)
  • 1%
    Orlando City, July 14
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    Jeisson Vargas (Montreal), March 17
    (12 votes)
  • 4%
    Cristian Penilla (NE), May 12
    (7 votes)
  • 9%
    Kaku (NYRB), September 22
    (14 votes)
153 votes total Vote Now

The Victor Vazquez Flamenco Dancer Award
For the best piece of play involving TFC

Really just another spot for anything we couldn’t squeeze into the “best goal” category.

JPN - Nutmeg. May 18th, 2018. This is our Squirrel.

BR - Gregory van der Wiel to Lucas Janson vs. San Jose. Van der Wiel showed off his stellar crossing ability, and Janson scored on his TFC debut. The passes leading up to van der Wiel’s cross were special as well.

MT - TFC weren’t really involved, but that Zlatan goal at BMO Field was something special.

COC - TFC’s goal in the home leg against Chivas was a pretty sweet bit of counter-attack buildup.

GL - Unpopular opinion; maybe every time an oncoming Bono kept TFC in the game?

BF - THAT Mavinga tackle.

P - Can we say Jonathan Osorio’s whole CONCACAF Champions League performance? He was absolutely sublime during the whole season, and I think his performance in the Champions League summed that up.

TS - Zlatan doing God things against TFC.

JG - Giovinco bringing down this long Bradley pass against Chicago and Alex Bono’s performance at Azteca, in particular this save.

AS - Since the award is named after him, let’s go with VV — Mr. Vazquez spent an entire halftime signing autographs and posing for selfies with everyone and anyone who approached him. When I went to thank him for being so kind to my daughters (no, I did not get an autograph for myself), he responded, “No problem. This is what we are supposed to do. It’s all for the fans. Thank you, to your daughters, for supporting us.” He’s a class act.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Toronto FC Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

The “Get Defoe Outta Here” Award
For the worst play involving TFC

Same thing as the last, but for bad things.

JPN - Three-way tie at the head table in a plastic and Formica banquet hall in the ninth circle of hell: 1) Pick an MB4@CB “highlight”. 2) Any of Justin Morrow’s identical feckless back-passes to net when he should be making blistering runs down the flank. 3) Any of Hagg’s or Zav’s Marcel Marceau / Keystone Cops slapstick defensive brain-farts. Forget about soundtracking this to Hi-NRG EDM, cue “Yakkity Sax”.

BR - The second goal in the Campeones Cup. Incredible strike, but nobody marked the shooter.

COC - Michael Bradley’s valiant but ultimately unsuccessful effort to defend Columbus’ second goal on June 2.

MT - I mean... it kind of has to be the Delgado miss, doesn’t it. Even if the others have pretended they forgot.

GL - Toronto’s opener vs Tigres — what the hell happened?

BF - Technically not the worst play on its own, but given TFC probably wins the CCL if he doesn’t make the mistake, Bono’s positioning error on Chivas’ game winner at BMO was the worst play for me.

P - Greg Vanney experimenting with Michael Bradley playing at centre-back. Then he started playing him there even when we had enough defenders.

TS - That missed Delgado shot in the CCL Final will haunt me for years.

The #SebaThings Award
For the best Seba Thing

JPN - His HELLO! Canada 8 page spread - July 27, 2018

BR - The through ball he played to himself vs. LA Galaxy He never gave up on the play and was rewarded for it.

COC - Gotta be the Tigres free kick. Didn’t score a ton of them this year, but that was unbelievable.

GL - Goal vs. LA Galaxy — he defeated Ibracadabra after all.

BF – Seba scoring when nobody else (apart from Osorio) could.

MT - His Instagram trolling

P - How he got 15 assists this year, and continues to impress with his excellent passing and finishing skills.

TS - Seba’s English speaking capabilities changing from game to game depending on if it was a win or a loss. (ed.: Not sure I understand this one, to be honest! - COC)

AS - Keeping his whining and petulant behaviour to a minimum. Rather than just one event, this was a body of work that needs to be encouraged and further cultivated. (But, if I had to pick one event, it would be that unbelievable soft cross to Marky in the final minutes against Chivas. Even I, with torn ligaments in my right foot, could have scored that one.)

Poll

Best Seba Thing

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    HELLO! Canada
    (12 votes)
  • 13%
    Through ball vs. LAG
    (18 votes)
  • 50%
    Tigres free kick
    (68 votes)
  • 5%
    Being able to score goals
    (8 votes)
  • 10%
    Being able to help other people score goals
    (14 votes)
  • 3%
    Selective commentary
    (5 votes)
  • 7%
    Improved discipline
    (10 votes)
135 votes total Vote Now

The “D-Ro’s John Hancock” Award
For the best goal celebration

JPN - Obvs Jozy and the shoe-phone - July 29, 2018

BR - Since everyone’s going to say shoe phone — Oso’s hair celebration vs Ottawa. It was unique and had a lot of fans in the south end copying him. This one had a lot of good potential answers.

COC - I’m a big fan of Seba just standing there screaming below the wall of Tigres supporters after scoring his free kick in Monterrey.

MT - Ryan Telfer scoring his first MLS goal, and just giving a simple thumbs up for the cross. Should have been a turning point in the season.

GL - Did somebody call Jozy Altidore?

BF - It has got to be the shoe-phone. Hopefully Jozy is healthy in 2019 for more goals and celebrations like that.

P - Yeah I think I’ll go with the shoe-phone. That’s pretty hard to dispute in my opinion.

TS - You used to call me on my shoe phone, late night when you need that goal. And I know when that hotline bling, it can only mean a Jozy thing.

AS - Jay Chapman doing the pseudo-Ronaldo after scoring against Philly (he repeated it a couple more times over the course of the season). I found it hilarious — kind of like Woodstock from Charlie Brown imitating Big Bird. Too much FIFA, Mr. Chappers.

Poll

Best celebration

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Jozy and the shoe-phone
    (89 votes)
  • 6%
    Oso’s hair vs. Ottawa
    (9 votes)
  • 17%
    Seba screaming in Monterrey
    (24 votes)
  • 6%
    Telfer’s first MLS goal
    (9 votes)
  • 2%
    Chapman vs. Philadelphia
    (4 votes)
135 votes total Vote Now

The Steven Caldwell “Quality” Award
For our favourite player of 2018

JPN - Gotta give the general his due: Michael Bradley is the engine, the heart, and the soul of this club. The buck starts and stops with him. He put the whole team on his back in 2017, and (unfortunately) was forced to put the whole team on his (centre) back in 2018.

Also, he may not actually play (unless you believe that Telfer six-on-six discovery story), but Bez is the single greatest thing to ever happen to TFC, and he needs his praises sung from All. The. Rooftops.

[It wasn’t easy doing that strikethrough on 01/03/2018 — the first day A.B. (After Bez) - JPN)]

BR - Jonathan Osorio — seeing a local guy have a career season at his local club was a special sight.

MB - Sorry it’s gotta be Osorio. He was on a tear, especially in the Champions League.

COC - Ager Aketxe erm, no. I’ll go with Jozy Altidore. With a shoutout to Jay Chapman too.

MT - Oso, it was fun to watch a Canadian player truly be a star player for Toronto FC again.

GL - Oso is up, up, up there but ... Ashtone Morgan — he is a so-called average player, but he was revived this year after several seasons left outside, as Greg Vanney capitalized on his versatility and he always gave what he had in his tank.

BF - My favourite player was injured for most of the season, so I’ll go with TFC’s best and that was Giovinco.

P - I think I’ll go with Jonathan Osorio since he’s severely underrated, and you could even argue that he may have even edged Sebastian Giovinco in terms of having a better season in 2018 despite Giovinco still playing well.

TS - I can watch Michael Bradley play all day. The dude just reeks of effort.

AS - Favourite player: hands down, VV (see above). “Best” player: Sebastian Giovinco.

Poll

Favourite player

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Michael Bradley
    (21 votes)
  • 52%
    Jonathan Osorio
    (90 votes)
  • 0%
    Jay Chapman
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    Ashtone Morgan
    (6 votes)
  • 17%
    Sebastian Giovinco
    (31 votes)
  • 11%
    Victor Vazquez
    (20 votes)
  • 2%
    Jozy Altidore
    (4 votes)
173 votes total Vote Now

The Danny Koevermans Award
For our favourite opposing player

JPN - Who else but Zlatan? He gave us a golazo for the ages at BMO.

BR - Wayne Rooney. He’s been one of my favourite players since I was a kid, so seeing him make the switch to MLS and tear it up is cool to see, even if he burned us with that incredible free kick. His tackle and pass to Luciano Acosta is one of the best goals I have ever seen.

MB - Rooney, a man amongst boys.

COC - Alphonso Davies.

MT - Yup, has to be Phonzy. Although everyone knows I have a soft spot for Samuel Piette.

GL - Miguel Almiron — O.M.F.G.

BF – What Alphonso Davies accomplished in MLS as an 18-year-old was unprecedented. Skilled, fast, and hardworking, it’s difficult not to cheer for the young Canadian.

P - I’m going to go with Darwin Quintero to be a bit different because he’s absolutely amazing at chipping; I just wish he didn’t chip Clint Irwin twice in one game.

TS - Man United legend, and LA God. Zlatan.

JG - Ignacio Piatti, the man is just an absolute beast when it comes to playing TFC. It’s a pleasure to watch him do his thing.

AS - The entire Ottawa Fury team. Imagine how many records we’d set if every game was a Fury game?

Poll

Favourite opposing player

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    Zlatan Ibrahimovic
    (62 votes)
  • 3%
    Wayne Rooney
    (6 votes)
  • 46%
    Alphonso Davies
    (76 votes)
  • 1%
    Miguel Almiron
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Darwin Quintero
    (3 votes)
  • 8%
    Ignacio PIatti
    (14 votes)
164 votes total Vote Now

The Stefan Frei Award
For our favourite opposing goalkeeper

JPN - Zack Steffen formerly of CCSC/currently fodder for the City Football Group meat-grinder — begrudging acceptance of his quality. And he may be a Stef(f)en, but he’s not Stefan Frei.

BR - Brad Guzan. After a solid career in England, it was nice to see him finally win something, even if it was for Atlanta. He’s also a pretty cool guy. (Update: Also Clint Irwin now that he’s gone)

MB - Luis Robles.

COC - Tim Howard and his beard.

MT - A quick look at the numbers will tell you Stefan Frei was ridiculously good this season.

GL - Brad Guzan.

BF - Quality goalkeeping was what kept Seattle in the playoff hunt while TFC languished at the bottom of the standings. Stefan Frei allowed about 13 fewer goals than expected, six fewer than the next best keeper, and 15 fewer than Alex Bono allowed compared to what was expected (per AmericanSoccerAnalysis.com). He was robbed of the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Award, but he gets this one named after him instead.

P - Joe Bendik. Okay I’m joking. Actually I like Tim Melia quite a bit because he’s so underrated compared to players like Brad Guzan.

TS - Tim Howard has a Kratos-like beard, so sure why not?

AS - Nick Rimando — because he fills out a goalie shirt like I do and still thinks that he’s in his twenties (like I do).

Poll

Favourite opposing keeper

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Zack Steffen
    (36 votes)
  • 5%
    Brad Guzan
    (8 votes)
  • 6%
    Luis Robles
    (10 votes)
  • 4%
    Tim Howard
    (7 votes)
  • 46%
    Stefan Frei
    (68 votes)
  • 4%
    Joe Bendik
    (7 votes)
  • 6%
    Nick Rimando
    (9 votes)
145 votes total Vote Now

The Maxi Urruti Award
For the most underrated player at TFC

JPN - Marky Delgado — The middle flipper had a really bad start this year, but bounced back (see what I did there?) and proved to us again how invaluable his hot-foot one-touch style is to the team. Nice to see him get a goal on Decision Day. #ChivasUSA4life.

BR - Gregory van der Wiel — he played very well out of position when asked to (is he a better fit at CB?) and delivered some delicious crosses (to Vazquez vs LAG and Janson vs SJ in particular) from the right flank.

COC - I’m going with Jay Chapman. I thought he had an excellent season of growth; he was arguably TFC’s best bench player this season.

MB - Ashtone Morgan, guy stepped up huge for the Champions League.

MT - Has to be Delgado, considering just how low some Toronto FC fans think of him. Wasn’t his best season, but he remains a crucial piece of this team.

GL - Maybe Delgado, because those who like the fancy stuff on the field would overlook Marky’s HUGE amount of recoveries, interceptions and his ability to connect passing through all channels.

BF - I think Hagglund was actually half-decent this year considering his revolving door of centre-back partners. His offensive aerial threat stands out compared to the other defenders.

P - I have two. Chris Mavinga would be my first pick, as TFC’s defence was pretty bad without him and he added quite a bit of pace to the defence. Also, Nick Hagglund because he’s pretty good at defending (although he makes the occasional mistake), and he has a tremendous heading capability. I still remember when he scored two headers in one game against Portland Timbers in 2014!

TS - Beitashour. His absence was understated when analyzing all the things that went wrong with TFC this year.

JG - Jordan Hamilton. He’s been around so long, doing his thing – albeit intermittently – that it is easy to overlook the evolution he’s undergone from pure goal-poacher to a more well-rounded striker. To wit: this goal for TFC II against FC Cincinnati (~1:50-mark), where he drops deep, plays the ball outside then rushes into the area to get on the end of the cross.

AS - Raheem Edwards. He was so underrated that we let him go. (Yes, I am just like one of our family cats — I hold a grudge and I never forget. Yes, we have more than one cat...)

Poll

Most underrated player (or player departed)

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Marky Delgado
    (37 votes)
  • 23%
    Gregory van der Wiel
    (40 votes)
  • 8%
    Jay Chapman
    (14 votes)
  • 6%
    Ashtone Morgan
    (11 votes)
  • 4%
    Nick Hagglund
    (8 votes)
  • 7%
    Steven Beitashour...?
    (12 votes)
  • 2%
    Jordan Hamilton
    (5 votes)
  • 17%
    Chris Mavinga
    (30 votes)
  • 8%
    Raheem Edwards...?
    (14 votes)
171 votes total Vote Now
MLS: New England Revolution at Toronto FC Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The “All for Me” Award
For the TFC player who didn’t quite play to their abilities this year.

JPN - Ager Aketxe. Still waiting on that cannon of a left foot. Take it Cadiz-y.

BR - Ager Aketxe. He simply wasn’t good enough, especially considering we all expected him to be as good as (if not better than) Victor Vazquez.

MB - Ager Aketxe

COC - Screw you guys, Ager4eva. I’m gonna have to say Justin Morrow, I’m afraid. Incredibly important player to the team who just didn’t quite put it together this year. I’m pretty confident he’ll come roaring back in 2019 though.

MT - 4ger 4ketxe

GL - Eriq Zavaleta maybe? Sorry, he’s not my ideal type of defender and gives me chills when he is on the field.

BF - Aketxe is the obvious (read “correct”) answer. But, I’ll go with Bono. He clearly has ability but couldn’t find any consistency and repeatedly made errors he didn’t make in 2017.

P - Eriq Zavaleta. Yeah Ager Aketxe didn’t play that well for Toronto, but I feel he was given limited time. I’m not saying he would’ve turned out to be a great player for TFC, but I do have a bit of sympathy for him. I picked Zavaleta because he’s played for Toronto for years, and played well previously in 2017, but massively under-performed this season, even more so compared to his colleagues.

TS - Zavaleta is the same player today that he was when he first debuted. That’s not a good thing.

AS - No contest. Mr. Aketxe, please collect your award... it’s the only MLS hardware that you’ll ever see.

Poll

Most underperforming player

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Ager Aketxe
    (88 votes)
  • 7%
    Justin Morrow
    (13 votes)
  • 27%
    Eriq Zavaleta
    (47 votes)
  • 12%
    Alex Bono
    (22 votes)
170 votes total Vote Now

The Torsten Frings Award
For the best player in an unnatural position

JPN - Gregory Van Der Wiel at CB.

BR - Gregory van der Wiel. He looked like a natural centre-back when asked to play there, although I really wanted to see him unleashed on the wing full-time. Special mention goes to Nicolas Hasler who isn’t a natural right-back but played like it when called upon.

COC - van der Wiel is the obvious answer, so I’ll throw a token vote in for Seba in midfield.

MT - Striker Nick Hagglund. (ed.: dammit, I change my vote to this. - COC)

GL - Van Der Wiel, amen.

BF - Known more for his attacking play as a wing-back, that Gregory van der Wiel slotted in as a centre-back so well he showed his value to TFC going forward.

P - What about when Nick Hagglund played as a goalkeeper for part of a game in pre-season? He even made a nice save as well!

TS - Zavaleta often looks like a striker trying to play defense. And then you remember, yup, that’s exactly what is happening. (ed.: That’s not a real answer... - COC)

AS - MB4. The award clearly states: the “best player” playing in an unnatural position, not the “player who played best” in an unnatural position. (This lesson was brought to you by the Law Society of Upper Canada.)

Poll

Best player player out of position

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Gregory van der Wiel at CB
    (105 votes)
  • 7%
    Sebastian Giovinco at AM
    (12 votes)
  • 6%
    Nick Hagglund at striker
    (11 votes)
  • 6%
    Nick Hagglund in goal
    (10 votes)
  • 13%
    Michael Bradley at CB
    (22 votes)
160 votes total Vote Now

The “Hey Mista Mista” Award
For the TFC newcomer of the year

JPN - Auro Jr. — with GVDubs a very close second. In the year of bloody big bust 2.0, they were consummate pros, and integrated with barely a misstep. Auro was fire all year long, despite being made of glass and popsicle sticks, injury-wise. Not a fan of that new hairdo though.

BR - Gregory van der Wiel. He performed well all season and seemed to really enjoy playing for the club.

MB - GvDW

COC - Auro. Maybe an honourable mention for Ryan Telfer?

MT - van der Wiel.

GL - LUCAS JANSON, PLEASE RE-SIGN HIM.

BF - There’s a case for each newcomer not named Aketxe, but I’ll go with Auro. Was one of the best attacking full-backs in MLS before his injury.

P - I think I’ll go with Auro because in the times he did play, he actually posed as a pretty good attacking threat from the wings!

TS - Auro. I wrote about Auro before it was cool to write about Auro!

AS - Once again, I am agreeing with him so much that I think I’m turning into JPN: Auro Alvaro da Cruz Junior is the answer.

Poll

Newcomer of the year

This poll is closed

  • 48%
    Auro
    (79 votes)
  • 43%
    Gregory van der Wiel
    (71 votes)
  • 8%
    Lucas Janson
    (14 votes)
164 votes total Vote Now

The “Downsview to Downtown” Award
For TFC’s best Canadian player

JPN - Oso, but one day soon it’s gonna be Jay Chapman.

BR - Osorio.

MB - Osorio with a special shout for Morgan.

COC - Yeah this one ain’t hard. It’s Oso. But again, huge shoutout to Jay Chapman, and also to Liam Fraser.

MT - If anyone doesn’t pick Osorio they are overthinking.

GL - Osorio.

BF - Osorio. Was special to see him excelling in both MLS and the CCL, and to see him finally asserting himself as a key player for TFC.

P - Jonathan Osorio. You could even argue that he was the team’s MVP for this season. I still like other Canadians though like Telfer, Fraser, Chapman, and our longest-serving member of our team, Ashtone Morgan.

TS - Osorio

AS - Ryan Telfer (I over-thought).

Poll

Best Canadian player

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Jonathan Osorio
    (148 votes)
  • 0%
    Ashtone Morgan
    (0 votes)
  • 1%
    Jay Chapman
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Liam Fraser
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Ryan Telfer
    (2 votes)
155 votes total Vote Now

The “What’s a Trillium Cup?” Award
For TFC’s best rivalry in 2018

JPN - Late change from L’impact to Atlan-duh Poo-nited. We cost them the double and the all-time points record — that’s the stuff long-standing animosity is made of. See you next year, gents. All your silverware belong to us.

BR - TFC vs Tigres has the potential to be a cool rivalry, but it has to be Montreal. It’s the first game people look for on the calendar.

MB - ATL

COC - The scenes against Club América were pretty hilarious, especially the tunnel shenanigans. I feel like that’s the CCL tie we all forget about even if it was unreal.

MT - I’m really hoping Toronto FC get to play Tigres again in next year’s CCL and reignite what was an incredible series and potentially a budding rivalry.

GL - Atlanta United.

BF - NYRB. Beating TFC twice, with two clean sheets, on the way to breaking the points record. Not cool.

P - Atlanta United, though that’s because of a lot of my personal bias, as I don’t like a lot of their fans. It was great to finally beat them 4-1 after our three previous meetings were all 2-2 draws. I have to say though there is a real argument for Club América, especially with all the things that their manager said, and the whole fight in the tunnel.

TS - It will always be the Impact for me.

AS - Houston. After that 5-1 drubbing, it’s war!!! I wrote this before reading below. Seriously. But, it makes for a great segue...

Poll

Best rivalry

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Atlanta United
    (30 votes)
  • 26%
    Tigres UANL
    (40 votes)
  • 7%
    Club America
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    New York Red Bulls
    (2 votes)
  • 44%
    Montreal Impact
    (68 votes)
  • 0%
    Houston Dynamo
    (1 vote)
152 votes total Vote Now

The “Meadowlands Massacre” Award
For the worst game of 2018

JPN - TFC 2: Electric Boogaloo vs Houston Dynamo, April 21, 2018 — or how I missed the beginning of the end of TFC’s title defence. Because CCL.

BR - As Waking the Red’s CLG (Chief Lineup Guesser), no game annoyed me more than Portland away on August 29th. Not only did I get my lowest score of the season (5/11), TFC lost 2-0 and fell deeper into their inescapable hole. Playing with three strikers, four central midfielders, two left backs and just the one central defender might have been Greg Vanney’s worst moment of the season.

COC - TFC were never more frustrating to watch than that early 2-1 loss on May 9 against the Seattle Sounders; they played well for stretches, but (as was often the case in 2018) an early goal against the run of play was something they couldn’t come back from.

MB - Houston Dynamo 4/21/18.

MT - Gotta be Houston, Jeff.

GL - vs. Columbus Crew 3-3, ruined my night.

BF - The Houston game was painful to watch. Out of the 14 TFC players who were a part of that game, only three (Chapman, Fraser, and Hamilton) are likely to play for TFC next year. The rest have either proved not to be MLS quality, or were let go. Considering the outcome of the game, I’m not surprised.

P - The 5-1 loss to Houston Dynamo with TFC II playing. Or what about losing to Colorado Rapids 2-0?

TS - Minnesota was the beginning of the end.

JG - The June collapse against NYCFC. The inability to track back on the second goal was disconcerting. Or maybe that thing in Orlando.

AS - The macabre manhandling in Minnesota. That game ended the season.

Poll

Worst game of the year

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Houston Dynamo 5-1 Toronto FC
    (61 votes)
  • 4%
    Portland Timbers 2-0 Toronto FC
    (6 votes)
  • 3%
    Toronto FC 1-2 Seattle Sounders
    (5 votes)
  • 12%
    Columbus Crew 3-3 Toronto FC
    (17 votes)
  • 33%
    Minnesota United 4-3 Toronto FC
    (47 votes)
  • 2%
    NYCFC 2-1 Toronto FC
    (4 votes)
140 votes total Vote Now

The “Miracle in Montreal” Award
For the best game of 2018

JPN - Decision Day vs. Atlanta United — Oct. 28th, 2018. After a terrible, no good, very bad year, it was hella nice to see us take the “Greatest. Team. Ever. (2018 edition)” down a notch AND make an impact on the entire playoff narrative.

BR - Canadian Championship final second leg vs Vancouver — retaining the Voyageurs Cup was one of the highlights of the season for me. The plays leading to all three of Jozy’s goals were special and there was also a rare Sebastian Giovinco headed goal.

COC - I’m gonna go with the away leg against Tigres, because it’s less obvious than the home leg. That was one hell of a heart-stoppingly dramatic game with some club-defining moments in it.

MT - Has to be the BMO leg against Tigres, a moment where MLS as a league believed it had really taken a step forward.

GL - Tigres/Club America home — WOW.

BF - MT has it right. The atmosphere for the CCL game against Tigres at BMO was the most incredible I’ve ever experienced. Really did believe in the CCL dream.

P - The away leg against Tigres was pretty amazing. Although we lost 3-2, we still were able to hold on so that we would play in our first CONCACAF Champions League Finals!

TS - trophies are trophies, the Voyageurs Cup Final was wonderful.

AS - Canadian Championship. Who were those masked men in red?

Poll

Best game of the year

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Toronto FC 4-1 Atlanta United
    (23 votes)
  • 13%
    Toronto FC 5-2 Vancouver Whitecaps (CC)
    (19 votes)
  • 30%
    Tigres 3-2 Toronto FC
    (44 votes)
  • 40%
    Toronto FC 2-1 Tigres
    (58 votes)
144 votes total Vote Now

The Tom Anselmi Award
For the best front office achievement of 2018

JPN - Fostering a working and mutually beneficial business relationship with Sao Paulo FC. Auro Jr. was the first of many. To me, this is a great example of the ascent of MLS in the global soccer landscape.

BR - Honouring Benoit Cheyrou before the game against the Chicago Fire in April. He’s a legend in these parts and deserved to be recognized for it.

COC - Getting more involved in the South American market with the deals for Auro and Lucas Janson; that’s a player source that’s proved successful in MLS that TFC hadn’t used to their advantage all that much yet.

MT - Keeping Jonathan Osorio around and making him one of the highest-paid Canadians on the planet. A potentially important moment for Canadian soccer.

GL - Well, retaining Seba is always an insurance year after year.

BF - Not panicking after a season where everything went wrong and selling our top players/rebuilding. TFC will likely be a contender again next season, and so keeping a calm head while learning from the mistakes of 2018 is crucial to rebounding with a strong 2019.

TS - not changing your five-year plan every three years

P - Signing Lucas Janson was a pretty nice signing for the end of the season — he just came a little too late to fix our woes.

AS - Not following in the footsteps of other sports teams and knee-jerk firing the coach. Greg “I’m handsome and I know it” Vanney has more than earned a second chance.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Toronto FC John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The “All for One More Dollar” Award
For the worst FO achievement of 2018

JPN - I want to say getting pwned by Athletic Bilbao and sending Ager right back to Cadiz on our dime, but it’s got to go to the tragi-comically unsubtle ploy to pre-sell us SSH our 2018 Playoff Tickets mid-season.

BR - Trading Nicolas Hasler. It’s not every day that a two-time Liechtenstein Footballer of the Year rolls around, so letting him go for little in return was disappointing. He’s a hard working player who loved being here, so hopefully our paths may cross again.

COC - I don’t really think the F.O. made many egregious mistakes this year, regardless of the results, but I guess I’ll go with Hasler too, if for no other reason than he was a very likable player.

MT - Maybe the loss of Raheem Edwards. He didn’t have a great season with Chicago or Montreal, and there is plenty of speculation about offseason issues. But Toronto sure could have used a dynamic wide player like him in 2018.

GL - Ager?

BF - Trading Hasler, a versatile and defensively responsible player for 188 minutes of Jon Bakero. Even if this freed up some cap space, they needed more midfield and defensive cover and instead traded it away. It made little sense at the time and even less now. Runner-up: re-signing Eriq Zavaleta for $260,000/year.

P - I’ve got to go with Ager Aketxe here. He was getting paid over a million dollars a year, and he looked very average.

TS - the team got old quickly, and it seemed to have caught them a bit off guard

AS - Failing to read my long-form columns. I told them exactly what they needed to do, right down to replacing the turf. Note for 2019: sign Juninho.

The King Club Award
For the best new thing about BMO Field

JPN - The shoe and tears-saving rubber mats they installed over the bare concrete under our seats.

BR - The atmosphere for the CCL games, especially the one against Colorado in February. Nearly 10,000 more fans showed up for that than the home leg of the Canadian Championship final.

COC - Other than the CCL atmosphere, I’m going to say opening up those temp stands in the north more regularly. They’re ugly and the stadium badly needs a proper grandstand in that end, but having people there is a good start.

MT - The atmosphere for those Champions League games. In the bitter cold it was consistently incredible.

GL - CCL environment, defo.

BF - CCL nights.

P - I don’t think you can argue against CCL nights. The atmosphere was great at BMO Field even though were were watching TFC play in the bitter cold.

TS - they had a new gyro sandwich that was ok I guess?

AS - Absolutely nothing. The place is in need of a massive overhaul. Temporary stands in the north and the Canadian Tire canvas tent in the south are pathetic. The new foosball table in the Rogers Club is a nice touch, though. Thank goodness for 2026.

The GO Train Tunnel Award
For the worst new thing about BMO Field

JPN - The Ice-Fishing Shack above the supporters section and/or the “No backpacks, wait, ok, some backpacks, is that even a backpack?” rule. It’s charming watching the line move like paint watching paint dry because of an ongoing existential debate on the nature of wearable storage.

BR - The awful playing surface, not helped by the Argos, TFC II and Champions League games. As much as we loved those matches, the frozen turf got absolutely destroyed.

COC - A forlorn-looking south end. Justified they may be in kicking out Inebriatti, but the supporters’ section sure did look sad.

MT - The field.

GL - Inebriatti out — don’t @me, it’s just I like tifo (ps: I am not from Canada, I watch the games from TV from downtown Malta lol).

BF - The field.

P - The whole ban of privileges on all of TFC’s supporters’ groups. I understand they needed to do it to make a point, but it is a bit of a pain that the atmosphere had to suffer because a few Inebriatti members lighting Ottawa Fury’s stadium on fire. I’m still shaking my head at how dumb they were, to create all of that chaos.

TS - adding more and more seats, and having fewer and fewer parking options is no bueno

AS - The increased ticket prices for the on-field “quality” that we were treated to. This includes the gouging for the Canadian Championship final and the Campeones Cup (where was my free, commemorative scarf?!). Note to the gang for 2019: get another striker, a CB (note: written “BC” - Before Ciman), and sign Juninho.


Well, there you have it. If you’ve stayed with us all this way, I commend you. Once again, sorry for the egregiously long article, and for the shockingly bad takes littered throughout. Please do remember much of what we say, we say with tongues pressed firmly in cheek. Here’s to a better 2019 for Toronto FC.

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