A new era will begin today for Toronto FC as they open the 2014 preseason against DC United in Bradenton, Florida. Midfielder Michael Bradley, one of the team's new designated players, will make his debut, while striker Gilberto could see his first action for TFC in the contest.
Bradley, a key member of the US men's national soccer team, is expected to bring stability to the Toronto FC midfield.
The 26-year-old was acquired from Serie A side Roma in January for a reported $10 million transfer fee and reportedly will collect a $7.1 million salary.
The New Jersey native played every minute of the 2010 World Cup for the United States.
Gilberto, a 24-year-old Portuguese forward who is considered a pure goal scorer, was signed by the club in December.
The third, and arguably biggest, designated player acquisition of the off-season, Jermain Defoe will not be available for the preseason opener as he remains on loan with Barclays Premier League side Tottenham until the end of February.
In his second tour with Toronto FC, Canadian international player Dwayne De Rosario could also see his first action since rejoining the club in the off-season.
De Rosario was reacquired by the team during the MLS re-entry draft and then signed to a new contract.
The opposition for the preseason opener will be De Rosario's former club DC United, who, like Toronto FC, are looking to bounce back from a tough season.
DC United finished with a 3-24-7 record last season and a league low 16 points.
Toronto FC ended the season 6-17-11 in 2013, ninth in the Eastern Conference.