Toronto FC fans will have been delighted to welcome their new centre-back, Darren O’Dea, despite the Irishman’s debut coming in their 1-0 defeat to Kansas City.
After signing for Toronto last week, O’Dea immediately headed back home before jetting out to Belgrade for Ireland’s international friendly clash with Serbia. As soon as that scoreless draw was over, O’Dea flew back to Canada, just in time to pull on a red shirt and walk out onto the BMO Field turf.
O’Dea’s sheer willingness to play for TFC will please fans who are desperate to see a reverse in the team’s fortunes. With 13 games of the season still remaining and Toronto no chance of qualifying for the playoffs, now is a good time to start bringing in new players ahead of the next campaign.
TFC fans will be justified in dismissing this season as a failed project and to start looking forward to next year. In O’Dea, they have an international-class defender who knows how to battle against difficult opposition offences.
O’Dea was slow to find his feet in British football and took his time progressing up the ranks at Celtic. Soon enough, he earned a place at the heart of Leeds United’s defence but the club were unwilling to offer him a permanent contract.
The defender was renowned at Leeds for his tough tackling and no-nonsense style of play, yet the 25-year-old also had the footballing brain to control the game from the back.
His arrival at Toronto will certainly help eradicate the squad’s poor defensive record that has already conceded 43 MLS goals this season.
Despite TFC’s loss on his debut, the defender will no doubt be in the starting XI for their remaining matches this season and he may even rise to earn the captaincy before the year is out.