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  • After making a huge off-season splash, Toronto FC prepares to start their eighth MLS season still looking for a first ever playoff berth. Yanni Gourde Jersey . TSN soccer analyst Gareth Wheeler tells you everything you need to know about Toronto FC heading into 2014, while TSN soccer analyst Jason deVos tells you how they will succeed or fail during the new campaign. Gareth Wheeler: With great signings come great expectations.  Toronto FC went from afterthought to main focus in an off-season of change.  President and CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment Tim Leiweke promised big things; a swift turn around in fortunes upon his arrival.  Momentum has shifted from a lifeless entity into a resurrected being with true hope and an ambitious future; no easy task for the most futile franchise in Major League Soccer history.  Seven years outside of the playoffs has taken its toll.  Amidst the newfound excitement is an element of prove it to me.  Big promises have been made before.  The shock of what has transpired with upwards of $100 million worth of transfer and payroll commitments hasnt sunk in with most.  Tim-squared, as in Leiweke and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko backed up their lofty words with decisive, calculated action.  On paper, this looks to be the best Toronto FC side the city has ever seen.  Now comes the hard part: sustained stability and on-field success.  Neither are guaranteed, but the blueprint reads much clearer.  The buzz is palpable across Toronto.  The question most often asked from passionate or casual supporters alike, how good will this team be? Theres no straight-forward answer.  Its easy to get swept up in the hoopla.  Tickets have been sold and the team will be playing in front of a packed house at BMO Field once again.  Theres a lot to be excited about and failing to make the playoffs for an eighth consecutive year would be seen as nothing short of a complete failure.  Championship calibre talk however is premature.  Striker Jermain Defoe and influential central midfielder Michael Bradley represent the two biggest moves of MLS off-season.  With name comes substance, with Defoe and Bradley easily becoming the best two players in franchise history.  They are that good and make TFCs roster comparable to top teams in MLS.  Brazilian duo, goalkeeper Julio Cesar and promising striker Gilberto are a step lower on the wow scale, but entirely intriguing.  Manager Ryan Nelsen has raved about Gilberto and believes the 24-year old can score more goals than prized acquisition Defoe.  The return of Dwayne De Rosario represents a chance to rectify the wrong surrounding his previous hasty departure. The club at the time painted De Rosario as the bad guy disingenuously.  Bezbatchenko has made clear this is a new TFC, set on doing business a different and better way.  Extending the olive branch to the hometown boy made too much sense. Attempting to forecast how this team will do is fruitless.  A MLS season is a marathon to begin with, never mind the added wrinkle of this summers World Cup.  Notwithstanding injuries and/or factors out of the realm of control, here are three keys to success for Toronto FC in 2014. 1) Goal scoring: Bezbatchenko has said to anyone who will listen; his first job was to find TFC goal scorers.  Sounds simplistic but only one team scored fewer goals than TFC last season.  Toronto has been in the bottom five in goals scored in each of the last four years.  The lack of a true finisher outside of the oft-injured Danny Koevermans was an indictment on team management.  Without top goal scorers there is next to no chance of competing with the top sides and having regular success.  It has been one of the many reasons for perennial failure to date.  How many goals Defoe, Gilberto, and De Rosario will score will determine how far this team will go.  Gilberto has already set a lofty, most likely unattainable goal of 25 tallies this season.  Defoe should have little trouble adapting to MLS life, and 20 goals isnt out of the question.  TFC lost back-up strike option Bright Dike through pre-season injury, Dike would have played a key role.  Bezbatchenko would be prudent to bring in another goal scorer to compliment the bunch because you can never have enough goals in the team. 2) Back four: Cheap goals conceded have plagued TFC in recent seasons.  The group last year was far too young, inexperienced and mistake prone.  The group worked hard, but lacked cohesion and didnt do anything particular well.  Justin Morrow and Bradley Orr were brought in to add experience to the back-line.  The strength, or lack thereof, of this young group will make or break this team.  Cesar as a leader at the back helps, as does Steven Caldwell as a steady, vocal force.  Can Nelsen get this group playing as a unit?  Does TFC have enough quality depth?  And can young Canadians Doneil Henry and Ashton Morgan makes strides, finding consistency in their game? If the answer to these questions is yes, TFC will be in good stead. Age is no longer an excuse. 3) Team tactics: Nelsens first year as manager was a trying one.  With very little talent, depth and a revolving door, six wins and the third worst points total in the league (29) was a predictable outcome.  Evaluation of Nelsen as team manager is thus far incomplete.  It surprised some Nelsen remained in the off-season of top-to-bottom change.  And because of that, he remains the easy fall-guy in case all doesnt go according to plan.  Another coaching change is the last thing this team needs - eight coaches in eight years speaks to the lack of vision or consistent direction.  Players, no matter how good, cannot achieve in a current state of flux.  It must be said the work-rate of the team under Nelsen was superior.  Theres no question hes a natural leader and a well-liked figure.  His man-management and tactical approach will be tested now he has better players and a year under his belt.  The team generally lined up in a 4-4-2 last year.  A level of formational flexibility will be required to get the most out of his assets, particularly finding the best spots to play De Rosario and Gilberto as dynamic attacking players. The hype is back at Toronto FC.  Its been called A Bloody Big Deal.  The only way that manifests is if the wins follow.  For the first time ever at TFC, there is good reason to believe it actually will. TSN Soccer analyst Jason deVos weighs in on how Toronto FC will succeed or fail during the 2014 season. Jason deVos: Toronto FC will succeed if… …the stars align. TFC have made the single biggest offseason spending splurge in the history of Major League Soccer. Nearly $100m has been spent to acquire the likes of Jermain Defoe, Michael Bradley, Gilberto, Júlio César and Dwayne De Rosario, and the burning question is this: Will this make TFC a contender? On paper, the answer is yes. Toronto is significantly stronger now than it has ever been. They have the U.S. national teams best midfielder in Bradley, a top-class goal scorer in Defoe and Brazils number one goalkeeper in Júlio César. You wont find a stronger spine to a team in MLS. If those players live up to their reputations, Toronto FC will not only make the playoffs, they will be the team that everyone wants to avoid in the post-season. Toronto FC will fail if… ….they put the cart before the horse. Having better players is one thing; getting them to play together, as a team, is another. It will take time for TFCs crop of new players to gel, and until that happens, the microscope will be firmly focused on head coach, Ryan Nelsen. The jury is still out on Nelsens ability - as a second-year coach - to get the best out of the talented players he now has at his disposal. He tends to stick to his preferred formation (1-4-4-2), and has so far shown little interest in experimenting with various tactical approaches to the game. This can work if the players are all on board (Real Salt Lake is a good example), but only time will tell if this will be the case for Toronto FC. If the team struggles out of the gate, expect Nelsen to come under increasing pressure. 2013 finish: 6-17-11 (ninth in Eastern Conference). Did not qualify for MLS Cup playoffs. Whos In?: M Michael Bradley (transfer from AS Roma) , GK Júlio Cesar (loan from Queens Park Rangers), F Jermain Defoe (transfer from Tottenham), M Dwayne De Rosario (Re-Entry Draft), F Gilberto (transfer from SC Internacional), M Jackson (trade from FC Dallas), D Justin Morrow (trade from San Jose), D Bradley Orr (loan from Blackburn Rovers). Whos Out?: F Justin Braun (out of contract), M Bobby Convey (trade to New York), F Robert Earnshaw (option declined), D Richard Eckersley (trade to New York), D Jonas Elmer (contract terminated), GK Stefan Frei (trade to Seattle), F Danny Koevermans (out of contract), M Matias Laba (trade to Vancouver), M Darel Russell (option declined), M Michael Thomas (option declined), F Emery Welshman (waived). SuperDraft: D Nick Hagglund (1-10), MF Daniel Lovitz (2-24). Ondrej Palat Jersey . - While a fast-paced offence has become more of a fixture in recent years, the San Antonio Spurs can still grind out games when needed. Andrej Sustr Jersey . Johns IceCaps erased an early two-goal deficit to come from behind and defeat the host Portland Pirates 5-4 on Saturday in American Hockey League action.DETROIT -- Omar Infante showed the Detroit Tigers what theyre missing. Infante hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning and had an RBI single in a four-run fifth against former teammate Justin Verlander, helping the Kansas City Royals beat the Tigers 11-8 Monday night. Infante became expendable in Detroit last November when the franchise traded first baseman Prince Fielder to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler. The next month, Infante signed a $30.25 million, four-year contract with the Royals, and their manager is glad he did. "I didnt really think much about Omar last year with the lineup that they had," Royals skipper Ned Yost acknowledged. "I would try to pitch around this guy and pitch around this guy to get to Omar, and Omar constantly just beat our brains in offensively. At about the midway point, I started realizing how really good he was." With 90-plus games left this season, the Tigers are finding out how vulnerable they are and how good Kansas City is in the tightly contested AL Central. The Royals have won a season-high eight straight to pull within a half-game of Detroit atop the division. Kansas City has won 11 of 13 since trailing the Tigers by 6 1/2 games at the start of the month. "We got on a nice little run here and weve made up some ground," Yost said. Detroit scored six runs in the ninth inning and pulled within three on J.D. Martinezs two-out grand slam off Donnie Joseph. Michael Mariot struck out Austin Jackson looking for the final out. Jason Vargas (7-2) gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks to win his third straight. Verlander (6-7) allowed seven earned runs in consecutive starts for the first time in his career, giving up a season-high 12 hits and striking out two over six innings. He got off to a good start, retiring the Royals in order on 10 pitches in the first inning, and pitched four scoreless innings before getting roughed up. The Royalls took a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning when Billy Butler followed Infantes RBI single with a three-run double off Verlander. Vincent Lecavalier Jersey. "Our confidence level is as high as it can get," Butler said. "I dont think it is as much him as it is were going really good right now." Infante cleared the left-field fences with his third homer this year with two on to make it 7-2 in the sixth, leading fans to boo Verlander, who is in the second season of his seven-year, $180 million deal. "I dont blame the fans for booing," Verlander said. "They are frustrated with me, just like Im frustrated with myself. I would have probably booed myself tonight. Theyve cheered me a lot of times, and they will cheer me again." The jeers kept coming in the next inning when Kansas City scored four runs -- one earned -- on four hits and two errors off Evan Reed, who failed to retire any Royals as their lead grew to 11-2. The Royals finished with a season high in runs and hits (17) on a steamy night in the Motor City. Detroit hurt its chances of winning the opener of the four-game series early in the game. Both teams lost a player to cramps. Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter left the game in the fourth with a cramp in his right hamstring. "Its not a strain," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus insisted. Royals catcher Salvador Perez was replaced in the seventh because of cramps in both calves. "Hes fine," Yost said. "They made him drink a bunch of fluids and gave him an IV." NOTES: Kansas City RHP Yordano Ventura (4-5) will start against Detroit RHP Max Scherzer (8-2) on Tuesday night, when the Royals will have a chance to move into first place and push the Tigers to second in the division for the first time this season. ... Kansas Citys winning streak is the longest active streak in the majors and its best since winning nine in a row from July 22 to Aug. 1 last year. China Jerseys Wholesale Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap Authentic Jerseys Jerseys From China Stitched NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale Throwback Jerseys Cheap NFL T-shirts Wholesale NFL White Jerseys Cheap NFL Gear Cheap NFL T-shirts Wholesale NFL White Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys From China Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping Wholesale Throwback Jerseys Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap Jerseys 2019 Jerseys NFL Cheap Wholesale NFL T-shirts Jerseys From China ' ' '