Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - Toronto FC finds itself in a familiar position heading into the 2015 MLS season.
Like last term, the Reds, embarking on their ninth season in MLS, have welcomed a few new household names to the squad as they seek their first appearance in the postseason.
Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe joined the Canadian club ahead of the 2014 campaign to much fanfare, but the duo struggled to make a lasting impact on the pitch as Toronto finished seventh in the Eastern Conference with a losing record.
Bradley will return to the team for another crack at making history, but Defoe has departed after an inconsistent spell in MLS. The Englishman made the switch back to the Premier League in January to join Sunderland in exchange for United States international Jozy Altidore, a move that sees the former Red Bull New York striker return to MLS after plying his trade for over six years in Europe.
Toronto continued its penchant for offseason splashes by adding 28-year-old Italian striker Sebastian Giovinco as its third Designated Player. It was a heralded signing not only for Toronto, but also MLS as it highlighted the league's ability to lure quality players from Europe before they are deemed "over the hill."
Apart from the club's high-profile additions, the roster remains largely unchanged, save for a few role players coming and going.
Robbie Findley provides Toronto with some depth up front after joining the Reds through the MLS Re-Entry Draft, while Eriq Zavaleta has moved to BMO Field to help shore up a defense that conceded 54 goals last term, third-most in the East.
Striker Luke Moore will hope to improve upon his total of four goals in 14 MLS appearance with Toronto last term, though it may prove difficult with the likes of Altidore and Giovinco higher up in the pecking order.
Warren Creavalle, meanwhile, will look to establish himself alongside Michael Bradley after making the switch to Toronto from the Houston Dynamo halfway through last season.
Greg Vanney will be in charge of putting all of the pieces together, a dubious task given how fickle Toronto has proven to be with its head coaches.
No TFC boss has coached more than 64 games for the club, and even after receiving multiple votes of confidence last term, budding tactician Ryan Nelsen was let go in August, forcing the club to transition in the middle of a playoff push.
Vanney picked up the pieces and will lead the club into the new campaign, but it's imperative that TFC makes great strides early on, or the longtime MLS defender could be looking for work before the season is complete.
ADDITIONS: Jozy Altidore (F), Benoit Cheyrou (M), Sebastian Giovinco (F), Eriq Zavaleta (D).
LOSSES: Jermain Defoe (F), Gilberto (F).
OUTLOOK: Toronto's perpetual offseason turnover illicits playoff aspirations year after year, but why should this campaign end any differently? The Reds seem fundamentaly mismanaged from the front office to the first team, so while their high-profile additions seem good on paper, it's tough to endorse the team as playoff contenders until they first make the postseason.