After the most eventful offseason in Toronto FC history, it’s a new era for the Reds with Bob Bradley at the helm. Will the Reds bounce back after one of the most — if not their most — disappointing seasons in franchise history? Here’s what you need to know.
2021 Record: 6W-10D-18L | 13th in the Eastern Conference | Missed the MLS Cup Playoffs
Head coach: Bob Bradley
Key additions: Bob Bradley, Lorenzo Insigne***, Carlos Salcedo, Jesús Jiménez, Deandre Kerr, Lukas MacNaughton, Kadin Chung, Shane O’Neill, Luca Petrasso, Greg Ranjitsingh
*** Lorenzo Insigne will join July 1, 2022
Key losses (just a list of players): Jozy Altidore, Yeferson Soteldo, Mark Delgado, Auro Jr., Richie Laryea, Justin Morrow, Omar Gonzalez, Patrick Mullins, Rocco Romeo, Kevin Silva, Eriq Zavaleta, Julian Dunn, Nick DeLeon, Tsubasa Endoh, Liam Fraser, Dom Dwyer, Kemar Lawrence**, Luke Singh***
** Kemar Lawrence is not with the club, but no official announcement on his pending departure has been made
*** Luke Singh is expected to be loaned out
Expected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Quentin Westberg; Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Mavinga, Jacob Shaffelburg; Jonathan Osorio, Michael Bradley; Deandre Kerr, Alejandro Pozuelo, Jayden Nelson; Jesús Jiménez
Best offseason move: Bob Bradley’s arrival as the Head Coach and Sporting Director is significant, but TFC’s best offseason move has to be Lorenzo Insigne. MLS has yet to see a player of Insigne’s calibre grace the league, and all eyes will be on the Italian superstar when he touches down in Toronto this summer.
Best reason to pay attention: It’s a new era for Toronto FC. Jozy Altidore headlines the 18 players who have already left (or will be leaving), and although the club is rebuilding under new Sporting Director Bob Bradley, don’t expect this season to be a complete write off. If the Reds can find a way to survive until the summer and stay within reaching distance of the MLS Cup Playoffs when Lorenzo Insigne (and others...) arrive, there’s a real chance TFC become immediate contenders the second half of the year.
The one glaring weakness: Fullback depth. Last year’s outside backs – Richie Laryea, Auro Jr., Justin Morrow, and Kemar Lawrence – have all moved on (or are on their way out). As it stands, the team’s first-choice fullbacks are two young attacking wingers: Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty and Jacob Shaffelburg. Will they be able to learn and adjust to their new position fast enough to play starting minutes for at least the first half of the year? TFC will hope so, because behind them are first-year MLS pros Luca Petrasso, Kadin Chung, and Kobe Franklin.
One fact you can use to impress your friends: Lorenzo Insigne won’t be the only Italian joining Toronto FC in 2022. Stay tuned... :)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe character who most personifies this team: Bruce Banner – with Hulk waiting to emerge.
Toronto FC kick off the 2022 MLS season on Saturday Feb. 26 at FC Dallas. One week later, the club returns to BMO Field to host the New York Red Bulls in the 2022 home opener. The new season is upon us. Let’s hope it goes a lot better than last. Come on you Reds.