Starting the year with an embarrassing result to a Panama side that took us out of Champions League. To finish off the season losing the MLS Cup to Seattle, it was a crazy season for Toronto FC. #VanneyOut and #VanneyIn was always an argument on twitter and what Ali Curtis was going to do to replace Giovinco loomed largely throughout the year. Let’s take the time and run down just a few of the big events throughout the year.

Pozuelo Signing

All preseason TFC fans and pundits were wondering who the 3rd Designated Player would be since Giovinco left us earlier in the year. Come March and Toronto FC announces the signing of Alejandro Pozuelo. While more of a replacement for Victor Vazquez, some fans were very skeptical as they thought we needed more of an attacking player.

No to mention, Pozuelo would have already played a full season in the Belgian league with no time to rest before starting for Toronto. It was a bold move for Ali Curtis. Pozuelo’s home debut came against New York City FC and he did this:

Pozuelo came out and showed TFC that he is a special talent and that we would be fine in a post-Giovinco era. Throughout the season Pozuelo had some off games but overall he was a great addition to the Reds. With double-digit goals and assists, it’s hard to argue that Ali Curtis made the right call bringing him in. Although detractors are saying he doesn’t score as much or we should have kept Giovinco, overall this signing is one of the reasons TFC was so successful.

Other Transfers

TFC brought in their fair share of new players this season. Although they were quiet before the first transfer deadline, they made a splash in the mid-season transfer window. Bringing in Omar Gonzalez, Nicolas Benezet, and Erickson Gallardo were the money moves.

Omar Gonzalez proved to be the exact player we needed. He helped create a backline that was one of the best in the MLS for the last half of the season. He helped reinvigorate Mavinga’s game and gave our wing-backs more confidence to attack. In MLS regular-season games, our goals against were 1.63 before Gonzalez got to Toronto. After Gonzalez started playing, our goals against for the rest of the season was 1.27. What an addition to the team and a 10/10 signing.

Nico Benezet and Erickson Gallardo are very tough to judge. They were not given much playing time in the regular season and Benezet only started getting time in the playoffs due to injuries. Both players look like quality and we were excited to see what they offered. Benezet showed his class in the playoffs, although, it didn’t look like he was very comfortable. He could have benefitted more from playing more minutes in the regular season. Vanney thought differently and stuck with Endoh and playing Poz on the wing, claiming injuries (among other things) were reasons why Gallardo and Benezet didn’t get minutes. Vanney’s roster choices were one of many reasons for the next topic, which is…

#VanneyOut

A highly debated topic on #TFCLive was whether or not TFC should fire Vanney. Halfway through the season, it leaned heavily on #VanneyOut. At the end of the season, including our playoff run, most of those voices have quieted and now it seems everyone is content with Vanney staying on.

Is that the right call though?

All of the #VanneyIn majority claim that ending the season on a 10 game unbeaten run, plus making an MLS Cup should silence all the #VanneyOut takes. In reality, a 10 game unbeaten run is nice, except, they only won 4 of those games. Is that impressive? It’s also very arguable that in the playoffs they made the finals thanks to luck and outstanding performances from Quentin Westburg. How much of this is attributed to Vanney’s coaching acumen?

Does Toronto FC need a change in coach? I don’t think it would hurt, however, it is no very likely to happen.

Rest of Season thoughts

Toronto FC did not win the MLS Cup. They did not win the domestic cup. TFC will not be in the champions league next year. Those three facts lead me to believe it wasn’t a successful season. Don’t get me wrong, the playoff run was fun. It was an exciting few weeks but unfortunately, we don’t have another star on our jersey to show for it. Perhaps, if we played a little better during the year it could have been a home game. With Michael Bradley’s contract up in the air, and Benezet technically on a loan, this team could look a little different next year. Although it seems like re-signing Michael Bradley is a guarantee, if someone comes and throws big money at him he may leave. I hope for the best (Michael Bradley TAM deal) but prepare for the worst.

Check back here in the coming weeks for our outlook on TFC’s upcoming season and who they should target as a 3rd DP if Bradley is no longer holding that spot. Also, tune in to The Soccer Report Podcast every Tuesday on their YouTube Channel.