Toronto FC faces daunting challenge in MLS opener against Seattle

All signs point to TFC's Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe travelling for the club's season opener...

All signs point to TFC's Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe travelling for the club's season opener this week in Seattle. (STAN BEHAL/QMI Agency)

Mike Koreen, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:55 AM ET

Remember all that hype when Toronto FC spent millions revamping its roster with marquee signings earlier this off-season?

Apparently, it all amounts to nothing come Saturday in Seattle.

With one of the big new names — Brazilian striker Gilberto — seemingly doubtful for the season opener against Sounders FC and Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley coming off injuries and missed pre-season time, many gambling lines have established TFC as a 4-1 underdog for the internationally televised MLS tilt.

“Obviously, we come in as underdogs,” said TFC coach Ryan Nelsen, who doesn’t seem to mind that billing one bit. “Seattle are favourites for this game, strong favourites with their team, their stadium and their fans.”

Yes, these are the same Reds that had the soccer world buzzing mere months ago by convincing Defoe, Bradley, Gilberto and, most recently, Julio Cesar to come to town.

But it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing for the club in recent weeks. The Reds didn’t enjoy much success during an injury-plagued pre-season, Defoe didn’t join TFC until Monday and Gilberto still is looking to regain full health.

While Nelsen said “everything is pointing in the right direction” for Defoe and


Photos