Toronto FC Shake Things Up: Too Little, Too Late?
Since their inception six years ago, the team has experienced excellent success off the pitch. The fans are what has kept the vehicle running smoothly, as they have earned the respect of footy fans from around North America. BMO field is a tough place for visitors to play. Not because of the team’s performance, but rather a direct result of the rabid fans who make life difficult for opposing players. If you’ve ever been to a TFC home match, you will undoubtedly remember experiencing the first corner kick coming from an opposing player, as streams of paper peppered him while he tried to curl one in the box. The fans are relentless. As a result, the atmosphere at home matches is quite the experience. Added to that, TFC regularly sold out of home matches for the first few years of their existence, and only recently are seeing the effects of poor performances on the pitch, which is the motivation behind my article.
The team poor success on the field is already well documented, so I will try to avoid regurgitating the obvious. The team has missed the playoffs every season, and is currently in last place in the entire MLS. In fact, they are winless thus far in the 2012 campaign and are only two loses away from equalling the longest losing streak (“enjoyed” currently by Real Salt Lake). Enough said.
In response, the team has recently promoted Jim Brennan to Assistant Coach, replacing Bob de Klerk. Brennan was TFC’s first player it signed, and was the longest-serving player before joining the coaching ranks. Having played in Europe, he has been exposed to top-flight football and hopefully will bring stability, guidance and leadership to a group of reeling players. Out, is Bob de Klerk. The Dutchman, while very experienced, has become somewhat volatile as of late. Whether the motivation was based on performance or behaviour, either way the move can’t be bad, right?
In desperation, rumours have been running rampant about Alessandro Nesta, the Italian international who has been highly successful in Milan, possibly joining TFC or another MLS team. While Nesta himself admitted considering the move, what motivation would there be for him to join a team in dead last with next to no chance at playing for the MLS championship match? It just doesn’t make sense. I’m sure most TFC fans, for which I consider myself as part of this group, would love to see him anchoring our defense. Just don’t hold your breath.
I can’t pinpoint what has gone so wrong with the club’s performance. I really thought they were on to something with the signings of internationals Koevermans and Frings, but success has still alluded them. Do they need to open the pocketbooks and find that Thierry Henry or David Beckham? I don’t think that would solve their problems and would be more of a band-aid solution. They need to make wise selections in the draft, find a coaching staff that work well together, and begin to find ways to win, as overly-simplistic as that sounds. Winning begets winning. Successful clubs build a winning tradition, and then the pieces seem to fall in place more often than not.
Whatever path TFC take, I just hope they realize the window is closing, and the pressure to choose the right one will become almost unbearable.
…and that is the last word.