A Big Question: Can Jonathan Osorio take the keys to the car?
The Victor Vazquez transfer kind of came out of nowhere, but the idea of replacing Vazquez in 2019 surely didn't. The Spaniard was, in 2017, arguably the league's best playmaker, and pretty clearly the guy who elevated TFC from "really good" to "legendarily excellent." They don't come close to winning the domestic treble without him.
But Vazquez played almost 1,000 fewer minutes in 2018, suffering through an injury ravaged season. To his credit he still put up excellent boxscore numbers – 8g/9a in 1440 minutes is huge – but he was a massive liability on the defensive side of the ball, and given both his age and injury history, there was no compelling reason to think he'd bounce back in 2019.
He's gone now, off to Qatar. And into the void steps... actually, it's not clear if there will be a like-for-like replacement.
Partially that's because TFC are probably going to go with a more egalitarian midfield approach this coming season, and partially that's because of what Osorio became last year. The 26-year-old blossomed into one of the league's best all-around central midfielders, putting up 17g/9a across all competitions in 2018. Some of them were quite memorable:
Osorio's performance took the guesswork out of things for TFC's brass: It's at the point where they'd be foolish to bet more on an import than on him. They can use the money Vazquez's departure opened up to address other needs throughout the roster.
Over the last 12 months Osorio showed he was up to the task. He'll get the next 12 months to prove it.