Soccer

Toronto FC, Best Team in MLS History?

Toronto FC’s historic 2017 season will certainly go down as the best in club history, but some experts are convinced there’s more to be said. The club is currently sitting on 56 points with seven games remaining, four of which will take place at the slaughterhouse known as BMO Field. Toronto has yet to be beaten at home, boasting a 10-0-3 regular season record (12-0-3 in all competitions). The dominance the club has experienced has lead many to beg the question: is this Toronto FC team the greatest club the MLS has ever seen?

The short answer is that there is no way to know for sure until the campaign comes to a close. Surely, the Reds would need to win an MLS Cup this season before being crowned the greatest team of all-time; but the way things have been going lately in the 6ix, it’s hard to imagine a different scenario. Not only have TFC taken care of business against weaker opponents, they have also dismantled title contending teams including Portland, NYCFC, and Chicago. So what makes this year’s TFC squad so special anyways?

1. Depth

Toronto FC is almost without question the deepest team in MLS. In fact, I’d argue that a starting eleven consisting of players who cannot consistently crack Toronto’s best eleven, would still be a playoff team in the Eastern Conference. With proven talent such as Tosaint Ricketts, Ashtone Morgan, Jonathan Osorio, Clint Irwin, Armando Cooper and Benoit Cheyrou as bench options, along with emerging stars Raheem Edwards, Jordan Hamilton, Chris Mavinga and Tsubasa Endoh; Toronto FC’s bench would likely bully the starting XI’s of some of the MLS’s bottom feeding teams. The nine outfield players listed above have combined for 11 goals this season in limited to very-limited minutes. For some perspective, that’s half the goal total of D.C. United’s entire squad in over 2430 minutes this season.

2. Eager Group

The Reds were agonizingly close to reaching their goal of winning the MLS Cup just a season ago. A loss in penalty kicks to an undeserving Seattle Sounders squad at BMO Field will continue to linger in the minds of TFC players for the remainder of this season. From the looks of it, TFC’s shortcoming last season has served as the fuel to the fire for this year’s group. Toronto leads the league in goals scored with a whopping 55 – seven more than the next best scoring output – and has conceded the second fewest times this season behind only Sporting Kansas City. Their +29 goal difference serves as just another reminder of the club’s consistent and concerted effort this season. The next closest goal difference you ask? Plus 13, owned by Eastern Conference rivals NYCFC. Winning games is impressive, but doing it in such a dominant fashion speaks to the collective focus instilled from Greg Vanney and his staff.

3. Superstar Talent

Every historic team needs its alpha-dog. The Reds alpha-dog is without question il formica atomica, or in english, the atomic ant. Sebastian Giovinco earned the moniker ‘atomic ant’ during his spell playing in Serie A for Juventus. Since his move to MLS in 2015, Giovinco has been an all-star every year, the league’s Most Valuable Player once, and has developed into maybe the most dominant offensive presence the league has ever seen. The addition of Sebastian Giovinco catapulted TFC from an eleven-win team in 2014, to MLS Cup finalists the subsequent year. Seba has already established himself as the greatest TFC player of all-time, but with one or perhaps multiple MLS Cups, the atomic ant may very well go down as the most dominant player in league history.

The Verdict

This year’s edition of Toronto FC has all the prerequisites to be the greatest team the league has ever seen. Toronto sit just twelve points shy of the 1998 Los Angeles Galaxy squad who hold the record for regular season points with 68. According to many however, the best team in MLS history was the 2011 L.A. Galaxy who finished just a single point shy of the previous record, though unlike their predecessors, they were crowned MLS champions to cap off their historic season. With seven games remaining, a seventy-plus point season is well within reach for a TFC side that shows no sign of slowing down. With an MLS Cup victory, there would be little question which team is deserving of the title: Greatest MLS Team of All-Time.

 

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