Toronto FC season grades: Chris Mavinga

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 09: Michael Bradley
TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER 09: Michael Bradley /

We continue our review of the Toronto FC roster from a historic 2017 season, by running the rule over defender Chris Mavinga.

Many players in professional sports have a bad reputation that follows them throughout their careers. It’s a difficult thing to overcome, but the narrative has to be pushed aside, as is the case for Toronto FC defender Chris Mavinga.

Mavinga didn’t carry the best rep with him since coming over to TFC. His so-called “horror tackle”, left Mehdi Carcela with a broken jaw and nose.

Up to that point, Mavinga had a solid playing career going for him. He featured for Paris Saint-Germain’s U-23 side, as well as Liverpool’s academy. Mavinga could have been a solid defender in Europe, but just one play seems to have hindered opportunity for him.

Luckily, Toronto FC gave Mavinga another chance this past winter, when signing him for what was rumored to be around $450,000 from Rubin Kazan.

The 26-year-old has moved on from the incident, and now provides Greg Vanney with some variety at the back. Mavinga usually plays as a centre back, but can also start at the right of the defence if need be.

Mavinga’s first year with the Reds was pretty solid. Alex Bono felt a lot more comfortable when the Congo native played in front of him, according to TFC’s website:

"“He’s been really big for us,” boomed Alex Bono on Wednesday after training. “He’s putting in that tackle, winning that ball in the air, making that tracking run that is the game-saving play for us. That’s huge. To have a guy with so much quality and so much experience has added to our back-line.”"

Mavinga logged over 2,000 minutes with Toronto this season, while amassing two assists. His defensive stats weren’t the most captivating, however, with an average of nearly one tackle and interception per game.

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From the fan perspective, his pace and ball control looked to be a bit of a concern especially down the stretch. This usually led to Vanney sticking Mavinga in his central defensive position.

It’d be normal to have some concern when sticking a new player immediately in the starting XI, considering that many didn’t know of Mavinga’s capabilities before his arrival. However, Mavinga has been able to hold up his own end, by helping TFC virtually win everything in North American football this past season.

It will be really interesting to see how Mavinga progresses next season. He wasn’t the Reds’ top defender by any means, but he always remained competent and stable at the back. Keep an eye on Mavinga come next campaign with CONACAF Champions League action happening so early.

Rating: 7.5/10

Next: TFC Season Grade for Drew Moor

What do you expect from Mavinga next season? Can the centre-back live up to his European expectations for the Reds? Let us know in the comments below.