Toronto FC home opener: A play-by-play of what you need to know
Last year Toronto FC scored sweet revenge against Seattle Sounders. What are the team's chances of being a repeat champion?
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The year 2017 didn't just bring the MLS championship for Toronto FC, and sweet revenge against Seattle Sounders. The team also won the league's Supporters' Shield after finishing the campaign with a league-record 69 points, 12 points ahead of everyone else. They also bagged the Canadian Championship.
There are new additions expected to boost the team's performance. Spaniard Alex Aketxe brings professional experiences from his days in Athletic Bilbao and competing in UEFA Champions League. Gregory van der Wiel was a starter for the Netherlands in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and played for Paris Saint-Germain. And 22-year-old Brazilian defender Auro Alvaro da Cruz Junior is expected to complement the team's wingback position.
Odds to repeat:
Being a champion means everyone is going to give you their best shot. But the Reds have retained their core of superstar players like Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and captain Michael Bradley, and brought in complementary players. It's early, but oddsmakers are sold on Toronto FC's chance to repeat: Bovada places the odds of 3.5 to 1, while Westgate Las Vegas Sportsbook puts it at 4 to 1.
In its 13-year history, Toronto FC has qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League five times, most recently in 2013. This season they're not only in the midst of this competition of top North American, Central American and the Caribbean clubs, they're also the favourite to win it all. The Reds have already disposed off Colorado Rapids in the Round of 16 with a 2-0 victory, and will face Tigres UANL from Mexico this Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
Touch of a Champ:
New season, new (ish) gear. Toronto FC will stick to its traditional uniform of red jerseys at home and white ones on the road. But this year's kit, obviously, has a touch of championship: The jersey features a gold star above the crest — large enough to spot the year — plus a maple leaf on the patch and the "All For One" slogan on the neckline.
Where to watch:
Stanley Barracks, at some 300 metres from BMO Field, will host a Home Opener pre-match rally from 10 a.m. Early tailgaters will receive special TFC shirts, and there will be other giveaways and specials on food and drinks.
Some local bars well known for offering a buzzing environment for Toronto FC games include the Brazen Head Irish Pub in Liberty Village, and the Football Factory at Queen and Bathurst.
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