Photo credit: CBC
Toronto FC shed its reputation as a minnow in MLS today by going to Seattle and defeating the Pacific Northwest powerhouse 2-1 to earn just the second ever opening day win in the club's eight year history. It was a just score and a credit to what could become a significant team in the league.
No one told Jermain Defoe that it would be hard to be a Designated Player in the league, to settle in, to score. No. Two goals in 24 minutes says it all. Defoe is just as much a superstar scorer as he was at Tottenham in the Premier League.
As for Michael Bradley, let's just say that there was hardly a play he wasn't involved in. In fact, the man looked like he was still playing for Roma, devoting himself to every tackle and distributing balls that Frencesco Totti would be proud of.
Capping it off was a curiously familiar man on goal: Julio Cesar. Yes, Julio Cesar from Brazil. He had the poise on most plays and only Dempsey's deft touch undid his work.
But Toronto is much more than these three players. In fact, Gilberto, their third DP, wasn't even on the pitch. The rest of the squad is compensated at a lower rate than the Bradleys and Defoes, but they did a good job tonight. And they are no pushovers either: DeRosario (former MLS MVP), Steven Caldwell, Alvaro Rey, Justin Morrow.
Seattle had its marksman finally score. Dempsey had a great opportunity and put it away the way we were accustomed to watching at the Premier League. It is clear, however, that Schmid still had much to work on to make the Sounders as fearful as it is to play at Century Link Field.
And yet, would this team be able to go to Seattle and defeat Sigi Schmid's team without Bradley and Defoe? That's the more important question and it is the depth in this squad that counts and why they aren't quite yet a superclub.