As we wrap up our explorations into Toronto FC’s past and the decade that was and move to previewing what looks to be a barnstorming 2020 campaign (as long as we collectively forget the CCL exists), there are still a few unchecked boxes on our ledger.
So come one, come all, as I present my shouts for the TFC team of the decade. I fully expect to be put on blast for some of my choices and especially my omissions.
It would have been easy, and perhaps the honest to goodness right take, to trot out the 2017 squad outright and pat myself on the back, but to ignore some of the greats who have worn the crest on sides less exalted would be sacrosanct to our M.O. at WTR, so let’s take a slightly deeper dive.
Greg Vanney (225a)
It’s not even close.
Starting: Alex Bono (99a)
Really, there are no other acceptable answers. Quentin is the hipster choice. Frei is ... Frei.
He had some bad years recently, and his future with the club is in flux, but man won us a treble, and his rise to our #1 between the sticks runs concurrently to the clubs rise from laughingstock to elite.
Backup: Júlio César (7a)
Sure, dude only played seven games for the Reds all the way back in 2014, but ... dude was a starting Goalkeeper for Brazil in the World Cup, slumming it in MLS to get fit for that tournament. We were lucky to have him, not matter how brief. He was quality.
LB: Justin Morrow (171a/17g)
Because he’s a rock. Because three of those 17 goals were a hat trick against the New York Red Bulls. Even though he’s lost a few steps, and even though he may be the TFC player that frustrates me the most these days (No. More. Backpasses.), J-Mo has more than earned his spot on this list. For my money, he’s still one of the best Left Backs in the league.
CB: Omar Gonzalez (14a/1g)
Well, that didn’t take long — I got TORCHED on WTR Chat for this pick. Why no Steven Caldwell? Torsten Frings? Haggs? Bitchy The Hawk? I’ll counter with this: How could I NOT put OGCB on this list? As Benedict Rhodes put it “Gonzalez is the best CB currently contracted to TFC in terms of playing in MLS over the last decade.”
I mean, this guy has pedigree. His spell with the L.A. Galaxy is the stuff of legend, and his impact on this squad was both much needed and immediate. Here’s hoping he does enough in the next few years to earn a spot on the list for 2030.
CB: Drew Moor (78a/5g)
This one hurts, despite the fact that it was absolutely time to move on. Uncle Drew is at least as responsible for the turnaround in TFC’s fortunes as the big ticket signings. His importance to the team cannot be overstated.
RB: Steven Beitashour (51a/0g)
Remember when he broke his pancreas for the team? Remember when we all but chased him out of town for some Dutch fashion model and a guy named Akexte? Beita is perhaps the best example of how undervalued MLS veterans can be sometimes. Truth: every team that has underestimated his value and moved him has regretted the decision. I call it the “Beita Curse”.
RB - Auro Jr. (23a/0g)
Fleet of foot, solid on defense. Auro is a modern full-back with a skillset suited to the evolving game. He’s the future.
CB - Chris Mavinga (64a/0g)
Capable of mind-numbing brain-farts both on the field and social media, but OMG, just when you think he’s done the thing that will undo all that goodwill, he goes and makes a perfect tackle and saves the game.
CM - Benoît Cheyrou (55a/2g)
Just pure class. Mad skills and genius-level football IQ. I’m still mad he left the club before we could hand him the keys to the first-team car. Would have been a hell of a manager.
DM - Michael Bradley (163a/11g)
Because of course.
AM - Victor Vazquez (52a/16g)
Another no-brainer. TFC have had many quality playmakers over the decade, but VV smokes them all. The former-Barcelona-man treated us to some delicious magic.
AM - Alejandro Pozuelo (30a/12g)
Our newest DP, also a proper sorcerer. Can you just imagine him and VV on the same starting XI?
Jonathan Osorio (195a/28g)
Mr. Brampton gets a spot on the bench over several other choices, including Delgado and Koevermans, because he’s Canadian, a long standing face of the team, and I really like him.
Dwayne De Rosario (86a/28g)
Super-sub time for DeRo.
Sebastian Giovinco (114a/68g)
Say what we will about his exit and his worth in the tangled web of football 2020. Seba in 2015 was a cheat code; he owned this league. Yes, he faded as the years piled up, but this is the Atomic Ant we are talking about — the only guaranteed spot on this list.
Jozy Altidore (110a/56g)
Is he’s healthy, he starts... or How I learned to stop worrying and love Patrick Mullins.
If I put him here because of that incident with Voldemort Defoe, it’s enough. He’s also quality, so there.
Alas, to the comments, where you all get the opportunity to tell me how wrong I am!
THIS WEEK’S PLAYLIST:
Is a collection of mid-tempo jams to take you over the hump of silly season melancholy into the phantorgasma of a CCL without us! FUN!