How Do Canada’s MLS Team’s Stack Up Going Into The 2024 Season?

By Adam Iannetta

Toronto FC

John Herdman is at the wheel and Richie Laryea is back, but apart from that, one struggles to find positivity surrounding TFC going into the 2024 season. With the Italian contingent taking up a large portion of the salary cap, TFC does not have much wiggle room. This resulted in an underwhelming offseason, where the Reds failed to add high-quality players. TFC lacks depth in many areas and remains without a goal-scoring striker. Toronto’s most notable signing was Deybi Flores, a defensive midfielder that will replace Michael Bradley who retired over the offseason. The hope for TFC fans is that Herdman can do with Toronto what he did with the Canadian women’s and men’s national teams. He has the personality and charisma to build culture and unity, creating an environment where the players run through a wall for one another. The biggest question Herdman faces is whether he can translate his international coaching success to the club level. Can he get Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi to buy into his methods? If not, TFC will be miles away from a playoff spot. If he can get the best out of the Italians and keep them fit, TFC could shock everyone. 

Prediction: 13th in the Eastern Conference


CF Montréal

The most eye-catching off-season change for the Quebec club was the dismissal of head coach Hernan Losada and the appointment of Laurent Courtois. Losada’s style of play was different from what Montreal fans had become accustomed to watching during Wilfried Nancy’s successful tenure as head coach between 2021 and 2022. Nancy has since moved on to Columbus, where he won the MLS Cup in his first season at the club. There is reason for optimism after a disappointing 2023 season which saw Montreal miss the playoffs. Coaching in Columbus’ academy and then Columbus’ second team, Courtois is of a similar breed to Nancy. Courtois’ tactical outlook is all about keeping possession and controlling games which will suit Montreal’s squad. The concern is that Montreal has found it difficult to replace the key players that made Nancy’s team so special. Over the offseason, Honduran striker Romell Quioto left the club and a new trio of attacking players were signed. This included strikers Josef Martinez and Matías Cóccaro, and attacking midfielder Dominic Iankov. One of the biggest questions Courtois faces is whether he can get the best out of that attacking trio. Montreal’s strengths lie in midfield. Canadian midfielder Mathieu Choinere is coming off his best season and has developed a strong partnership with veterans Victor Wanyama and Samuel Piette. Make no mistake, the Eastern Conference is strong and on most nights, Montreal will face opposition with higher-quality players. What Montreal needs most is a clear identity and style of play, giving the club something to build on moving forward.

Prediction: 11th in the Eastern Conference


Vancouver Whitecaps

The 2x defending Canadian Champions enter the 2024 season as Canada’s best club. After finishing 6th in the Western Conference in 2023, head coach Vanni Sartini has his sights set on winning playoff games. While the attacking duo of Ryan Gauld and Brian White was amongst the best in MLS last season, there was not much depth behind them. The offseason addition of Damir Kreilach will offer more depth. The former Real Salt Lake captain signed with Vancouver in free agency. He loves to play alongside and combine with another striker, and arrives with 71 goal contributions in 151 MLS appearances. Vancouver’s performance in the first round of the CONCACAF Champions Cup showed flashes of how daunting the attacking trio of Gauld, White, and Krelich will be for opposition. The Whitecaps also signed the electrifying Haitian winger Fafà Picault to further bolster their attacking options. Paraguayan midfielder Andres Cubas returns and is the heartbeat of the Whitecaps team. Canadian soccer fans will especially be eager to watch the continued growth of Ali Ahmed. The concern for Vancouver is the defense. The backline often struggled to defend crosses and set pieces last season and high-quality defenders have not been signed. Goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka has also struggled since signing with the Whitecaps. These weaknesses were exposed by LAFC in the playoffs last year. If the Whitecaps are going to take the next step and become an MLS Cup contender, they can not expect to outscore the opposition every night.

Prediction: 4th in the Western Conference, eliminated in the Western Conference Semifinals

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