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MLS: Eastern Conference Preview

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Forward Taylor Morgan #28 and midfielder Reggie Lambe #19 of Toronto FC moves the ball upfield against Sporting Kansas City February 23, 2013 in the final round of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 23: Forward Taylor Morgan #28 and midfielder Reggie Lambe #19 of Toronto FC moves the ball upfield against Sporting Kansas City February 23, 2013 in the final round of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Overview: If you’re a betting fan, bet on Toronto to finish last in the standings. The team’s mismanagement has ruined what could have been one of the most successful franchises in MLS. A once ravenous fan base has all but turned its back on the team, leaving one of the league’s best stadiums devoid of passionate spectators. The surprising decision to lure Ryan Nelson from QPR has signaled change, but change seems like a yearly step towards much of the same. Fourteen players have left the club, freeing up a lot of cash, which has allowed Danny Califf and Welsh international, Robert Earnshaw, to join the squad. There’s no doubt that Nelson is passionate about changing the club’s course, and his familiarity with Kevin Payne (General Manager) suggests that there’s a consensus about the way forward; nevertheless, improvements will be gradual, making the Canadian club a cellar dweller.

Key Player: The loss of Eric Hassli means that Toronto needs someone to score goals. Robert Earnshaw has certainly done that in the past, and his success in the Premier League is a testament to his talent. But his late arrival means less time to adapt, and that could be problematic.