Billy’s Beat on the MLS Offseason
With the MLS offseason firmly underway, a lot of teams have been in discussions (or rumored discussions) with many of soccer’s biggest stars about coming stateside. However, two clubs, Toronto FC and NYC FC, have emerged as the frontrunners for this MLS offseason.
Who has had the better year so far?
The Great White North
Last season, Toronto FC’s ownership made the firm decision to spend some cash and bring in players that would help their club emerge from its perennial place at the bottom of MLS. The result: TFC brought in Michael Bradley, Jermaine Defoe, and Brazilian youngster Gilberto, but missed the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
While Bradley and Gilberto will stay in Toronto, the Defoe experiment is over, as the former Spurs man will move back across the pond to play for Sunderland in a swap deal for Jozy Altidore. While Altidore has struggled during his time in the EPL, leaving many TFC fans to question the move, Jozy remains the striker of choice for Jurgen Klinsmann and has shown an ability to score in top leagues, including his 30-goal season for AZ Alkmaar not too long ago.
I imagine Jozy’s return to MLS will bear closer resemblance to his time in the Netherlands, rather than his time in England. In addition to bringing in a new American striker, TFC have also secured someone who may provide service for Jozy in the form of “The Atomic Ant,” Sebastian Giovinco. The 5’5” Italian winger joins Toronto on a free transfer from Juventus, and at just 27, comes over to MLS in the prime of his career.
It will be interesting to see how the trio of Bradley, Giovinco, and Jozy works out, but no one can deny that is one of the most talented DP corps in all of MLS.
New Kids on the Block
With NYC FC looking to supplant the New York Red Bulls as New York City’s soccer club of choice, they knew they had to make some big moves. First, it was David Villa, the man who secured so many trophies for both Barcelona and the Spanish National Team with his knack for finding the back of the net. Next, it was Frank Lampard, a Premier League and English National Team legend to ply his craft in midfield. However, in the wake of the Lampard controversy, with club officials unsure if “Super Frank” will ever make his trip across the pond, the new kids in New York City have added a national teamer to their crew: none other than Mix Diskerud.
Mix has been amongst the best players in the Norwegian top division for years, showed his quality in his inclusion on the United States’ 2014 World Cup roster, and will provide the creativity in midfield required for NYC FC to score goals as the await for Lampard to finish the season with Manchester City.
The best part of it all; Mix doesn’t take up a DP slot. NYC FC officials still have time to bring in yet another superstar or national teamer to arguably the biggest stage in MLS, either now or over the summer during the July transfer window. However, with David, Mix, and a slew of young talent in tow, Jason Kreis and Claudio Reina are building something special in New York.
If Frank Lampard was committed to being with NYC FC on MLS’ Opening Day, the edge would go to the new guys, but with Toronto swapping their disgruntled Englishman for Michael Bradley’s national team teammate as well as adding a winger who has played on the biggest stage of international football for most of his life, I have to give the best offseason to Toronto FC.