Toronto FC 2023 MLS season preview: Tactics, predicted XI, predictions

After a two-year absence, Toronto FC are looking to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2023.

The Reds have endured a miserable couple of seasons, finishing 13th in the Eastern Conference back-to-back while also losing in both their Canadian Championship finals during that time.

However, TFC have an attacking lineup that is the envy of any team throughout MLS in Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi, while head coach Bob Bradley has about as much pedigree in this league as you could hope for dating all the way back to 1996.

So, here’s everything you need to know about Toronto FC ahead of the new MLS season, including tactics, key players, and predictions.

Transfers in


Former Club


Sigurd Rosted

Brondby IF


Sean Johnson


Free transfer

Matt Hedges

FC Dallas

Free transfer

Adama Diomande

Odds BK

Free transfer

Victor Vazquez

LA Galaxy


Tomas Romero



Brandon Servania

FC Dallas


Raoul Petretta



Transfers out


Club Joined


Jayden Nelson



Luca Petrasso

Orlando City


Jacob Shaffelburg

Nashville SC


Chris Mavinga

LA Galaxy

Free transfer

Doneil Henry

Minnesota United

Free transfer

Alex Bono

DC United

Free transfer

Domenico Criscito


Free transfer

Quentin Westberg

Atlanta United

Free transfer

Ifunanyachi Achara

Houston Dynamo


Jesus Jimenez

FC Dallas




Noble Okello


Once Bradley had Insigne and Bernardeschi on his hands, he was finally able to switch to the 4-3-3 set-up that served him so well during his LAFC days. His two Italian stars hugged the touchlines and looked equally capable of making something special happen when running the wing as they did cutting inside, while a central midfield platform including Canada internationals Jonathan Osorio and Mark-Anthony Kaye helped with ball retention.

Bradley, unsurprisingly, moved toward a possession-heavy style as the season went on and that’s not likely to change here, though he’ll be looking for even more production from his forward line and some sort of balance from his revamped defense.

Toronto FC predicted XI (4-3-3): Johnson; Laryea, Rosted, Hedges, Petretta; Bradley, Osorio, Kaye; Bernardeschi, Diomande, Insigne.

Insigne is a potential MVP candidate.

Insigne is a potential MVP candidate. / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Lorenzo Insigne

There’s a case to put both Bernardeschi and Insigne in this slot but where the former burst into flames right away in MLS, the latter has so far simmered and not yet reached the boil. And given he hit six goals and eight assists in his first 11 MLS appearances, that’s a pretty scary thought.

If Insigne does bring his very best in 2023, he will most likely win the MVP award, perhaps even at the expense of his compatriot and teammate. And we’re talking about the sorts of numbers that even the likes of Carlos Vela and Josef Martinez haven’t produced in this league. That’s just how good and still in-prime the former Napoli forward is.

And should that happen, the sky is the limit for TFC as well.

With three new defenders, a new goalkeeper, and Richie Laryea only rejoining from Nottingham Forest midway through last season, TFC are basically fielding a brand new defense this season. They absolutely needed it after the disasterclass of 2022, but much will depend on this group of players hitting it off quickly to provide stability.

Further forward, the midfield is set, the forward line is packed with eye-watering talent, and the guy on the sidelines just knows how to get it done in MLS.

If that defense holds, TFC will not only be back in the Playoffs, but they’ll also be set for a deep run into them, too.

Will Toronto FC qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs? Yes

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