Toronto FC: 5 Signings to Consider
Toronto FC, heading into it's sixth season this year, are looking to finally make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Considering the state of the team management over the past five years it's not surprising the team has yet to make the playoffs. In five full seasons, the team has hired six different coaches. With this revolving door at the coaching spot, the team has been subject to constant roster overhauls in order to fit the incoming coaches' preferred style of play.
With some stability finally in place in the team's management, as well as a set system and a core of good young players, things are starting to look up for Toronto FC. The team has solid goaltending with Stefan Frei and Milos Kocic who fills in nicely as his understudy. Defence has been a constant concern for quite some time, however. The midfield showed promise with de Guzman, Silva, and (until his injury) club captain Torsten Frings. The team also had some quality options up front in Plata, Koevermans, as well as Johnson who got off to a great start.
However, the team still has a long way to go if they ever want to become MLS champions, something fans have been dreaming of since the team's inception. While the team currently has the maximum three designated players, there are some players the team could add to help this season.
If healthy, Etobicoke native Paul Stalteri, could be the answer to Toronto's defensive woes. The versatile winger, can play as a full back in coach Winter's 4-3-3 system, or as a winger in the midfield, should the team decide to try the 3-4-3 formation again. After leaving the Toronto Lynx in 1998 Stalteri would go on to spend the next thirteen years between Germany and England. Playing for Werber Bremen, Tottenham, Fulham, and most recently a two-year stint with Borussia Mönchengladbach. Stalteri is the most capped player for the Canadian National team and has also served as team captain.
Stalteri has not played since the end of the 2011 season, in which he underwent knee surgery. Stalteri has said he intends to resume his career when he is fully fit. While retirement is a possibility for the Canadian international, should he be able to return to form, he could be a huge addition for the Toronto back line.
Russell Teibert, currently with the Vancouver Whitecaps, is a speedy young winger in a similar mold to young Toronto star Joao Plata. Teibert, only 19 years old, was a member of the TFC academy before joining the Whitecaps residency program back in 2008.
The midfielder has showed promise in his brief opportunity last season. Teibert is an attacking winger who uses his speed to effectively be a threat for the opposing defence. Teibert would help to add some creativity to the offence and playing across from Plata would force the opposing defence to stay alert at all times. Teibert could help the team now and would be a key part of the team long term.
Another player with a link to the Whitecaps is Vancouver native Marcus Haber. Haber is another signing that could benefit the team more in the long term than in the immediate future. Haber stands at 6'3'' and is out of contract at the end of the upcoming season. The twenty-three year old striker is currently in Scotland coming off the bench for St. Johnstone.
While he may be reluctant to leave Europe and return to Canada so soon, it is not completely out of the question. Haber could be very similar to the Richard Eckersley signing. He's a young player who is finding first team opportunities limited, and may agree to a move for the chance at regular, first team play.
Joseph Di Chiara
Di Chiara is currently playing in the top flight league in Russia. He is another player who would be a part of the team's plans in the long term. Di Chiara is a defensive minded midfielder who is credited for his ability to move the ball well. The Toronto native is more than capable of stepping into the first team right away, and given the opportunity, he could quickly become an integral part of the Toronto midfield.
His play in Russia earned him a call up to the senior National team in September, despite never playing for Canada at any other level. Di Chiara will likely assert himself as a core player in the national team within the next few years.
Alessandro Del Piero
Alessandro Del Piero is a football legend. Not many would argue that. The Italian World Cup winner, who turns 38 this year, continues to prove time and time again, that he still has a lot to give on the field. The Juventus captain is out of contract this summer, and Juventus have already said they will not be resigning him.
Toronto has been rumoured to be interested in signing Del Piero a few years ago. He and his agent have both said he is interested in playing in the MLS, with Los Angeles and New York as his preferred destinations. While signing Del Piero would be a challenge, and would mean parting ways with one of the current Designated players, he would improve the squad.
Del Piero is the player that would propel Toronto to the next level. His play-making skills would greatly improve the team, and his efforts against Roma and Milan show he still has that goal scoring touch. Not to mention the fact that he is one of the best dead ball specialists to ever play the game.