Toronto FC: Domenico Criscito departure represents another failure in defence

Domenico Criscito (44) in action during the MLS game between...
Domenico Criscito (44) in action during the MLS game between... / SOPA Images/GettyImages

As per Sportsnet, Toronto FC and Domenico Criscito have mutually agreed to terminate his Targeted Allocation Money contract. It represents the end of a short but not so sweet period in Southern Ontario - and, the player and club announced on Tuesday night, the end of Criscito's career as a professional footballer.

Criscito joined TFC at the end of June, following fellow Italians Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi. At the time he was seen as a key signing, who could help improve a porous defense.

Instead, the left-back became a part of the problem, as the Reds equaled an unwanted franchise record of allowing 66 regular season goals in a year. It represented the third-most goals conceded in MLS this past season.

In total, Criscito made 15 regular season appearances, starting all but one of them. He also scored once, with one of the best Toronto FC goals of the 2022 campaign.

The was some surprise for Toronto FC supporters on Tuesday morning, as it was reported that the Reds and Domenico Criscito had agreed to terminate his contract with immediate effect.

When the former Italian international first joined TFC, there was a lot of understandable excitement surrounding his arrival. He was renowned for his smart defence, durability, versatility and attacking threat.

Prior to signing for the Reds, Criscito had already enjoyed a long career which included spells with Juventus and Zenit Saint Petersburg. However, he is best known for his time with Genoa in Serie A, where he was made captain for his last spell with the club.

Internationally, the 35-year-old earned 26 caps for Italy between 2009-18. The highlight of his international career was being named the starting left-back for Gli Azzurri, when they competed in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The mutual agreement to terminate Criscito's contract was first reported by Fabrizio Romano of Sky Sports. Romano added that the the Cercola native will return to Italy while he makes a decision about his future, as he has now done.

As for Toronto FC, they are now left with an additional challenge as they attempt to improve their back line ahead of next season. Little went right for TFC in defence during 2022, highlighted by disappointing designated player Carlos Salcedo leaving after just 13 league appearances with the club.

What is your opinion of Criscito's time with Toronto FC? How confident are you that the defence will be successfully improved for next season? Let us know in the comments section below.