Toronto F.C. held its annual post mortem on Tuesday, ending a disappointing season that saw the club miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
Player after player stood at the podium and answered questions about what they thought went wrong in 2010.What started as the year everything was supposed to change, the year in which TFC was supposed make the playoffs and challenge for a berth in the MLS Cup (scheduled for November 21 on the home grass of BMO Field), has ended as badly or worse than any season before it.
First up was C.E.O. Tom Anselmi, the man in the hot seat right now. Anselmi is in charge of bringing in the right people to do the job Mo Johnston couldn’t. He blamed the instability of the team on its constantly changing coaches (five in four years) and a revolving door in the team’s dressing room that has made it hard for the club to have any kind chemistry. When he makes his next front office hire, Anselmi desperately needs to get it right this time.
Next up was captain and team leader Dwayne DeRosario. He came here to win championships. He did his part scoring 15 goals on a team that was built around Preki’s defence first mentality. As much as he might like to, DeRosario can’t sign his own paycheque. He expects to be back, but refused to talk about his contract situation. Interim G.M. Earl Cochrane says keeping DeRo happy is a top priority but the Canadian international plans to keep a close eye on what MLSE does in the offseason.
All the players said they were happy in Toronto and would like to stay on next year, those with contracts and those without. Maicon Santos wants to be back, Chad Barrett called Toronto is a special place and expects to return. Adrian Cann enjoys playing in his home town and wants to come back.
Julian DeGuzman was uncharacteristically upbeat and chatty, sayinghe wants to win in his home town. DeGuzman says he’s scored four goals his whole career and hopes the fans and media will understand he’s not here to score goals and the team doesn’t need a major overhaul.
Last up were Cochrane, aAssistant G.M. Jim Brennan and interim coach Nick Dasovic. The three are not guaranteed to be back next year but said they will go on scouting and signing players as they see fit. Cochrane said TFC needs to get younger and quicker and be able to adapt to the North American style of travel and play (are you listening, Mista?). If offered the position full-time, both Dasovic and Cochrane would be happy to stay on.
From top to bottom, players and management all echoed the same sentiment: this club needs stability and leadership. The constant turnover of coaches and players must end to give the players time to learn a system and be able to gel, both on the field and off.