Questions: How Many Defenders is Enough in Toronto?

Toronto's early moves suggest the focus is on defense for 2013.  Credit: Nick Turchiaro - ISIPhotos.com

By Tony Edwards - San Jose, CA (Dec 27, 2012) US Soccer Players -- In Thursday’s column, Tony asks about developments on Toronto’s backline, counts Colorado’s offensive issues, and looks at the oldest active rivalry in American soccer.

Has Toronto done enough this offseason to be considered a contender in 2013?

With the additions since August of Darren O’Dea, Danny Califf, and USA international Gale Agbossoumonde, Toronto’s backline may look entirely different in March than it did in October. While these are positive moves, there’s also a sense of seeing just how many defenders TFC can add to the mix in answering an issue that goes past the actual defenders. After all, defense isn’t just the responsibility of defenders. Before congratulating Toronto’s new management, they were in a position to be able to pick up Califf and Agbossoumonde mostly because of how lousy TFC was last season.

Last week, the Rapids traded striker Omar Cummings to Houston. Having played for the Rapids for six seasons, is he their all-time leading scorer?

He’s second in franchise history with 39 goals in 148 total games. Conor Casey, now of Philadelphia, is the club’s all-time goal scorer, with 50 in 119 total games in six seasons. The Rapids have only scored 708 goals (including own goals for) in 17 seasons, or about 42 a season.

A few columns back, we looked at Major League Soccer records that were likely to fall next season. Which records are unlikely to fall any time soon?

As you’d expect, the longevity records. Kevin Hartman, currently not signed with any club, has played the most minutes (37,260) and has the most starts (411) of any player in League history. No active player is within 80 starts of Hartman (Joe Cannon is at 311). One record that might fall this coming season that we missed last time is the most road goals scored in a career. Landon Donovan needs four goals on the road to tie Jeff Cunningham’s League record of 57.

What is likely the oldest continuous active rivalry between teams in American soccer?

Seattle vs Portland? What about the gaps when the teams were in different leagues. The Rochester Rhinos vs the Richmond Kickers? How about the Baltimore Blast versus the Milwaukee Wave, who have been playing each other since the 1992-1993 season, in various indoor leagues, according to the MISL. Indoor soccer may not have the cache it once held, but twenty years is twenty years. By American soccer standards, it’s a very long time, and no small accomplishment. In the latest edition, Milwaukee defeated the Blast 6-5.

How many MLS teams are training in Central Florida in February?

Six, including Kansas City, Philadelphia, Montreal, Toronto, DC, and Columbus. According to the Orlando Sentinel, each franchise is receiving $30,000 upfront, which includes some public money “earmarked“ by the Florida Legislature for the event. MLS teams are also selling vacation packages to their fans for this training camp. According to the article, the teams can “earn as much as $75,000 in payments” depending on how many packages they sell. The Central Florida Sports Commission expects to draw 15,000 people to the training, the Disney Pro Soccer Classic (an annual tournament at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex) and “about a dozen ancillary events.”


Tony Edwards is a soccer writer from the Bay Area.

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3 Responses to Questions: How Many Defenders is Enough in Toronto?

  1. Tony in Quakeland says:

    speaking of Colorado…

    Just what are they doing? Letting Casey go made sense if they wanted to play a more attractive attacking style, one that would have suited Cummings well. Now he’s gone? They are the MLS team I watch the least, so I really have no idea what they are up to.

    So…what are they up too?

  2. Eric says:

    I think the MLS clubs intentionally devalue the veteran players. There are so many examples.

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