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TFC in need of stability

There's not much to smile about for Tom Anselmi and TFC.

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.

Dwayne De Rosario

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.

Lenny Grammenopoulos

 

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Broken Promises for TFC

A week of frustration for TFC

It started out as promising as anyone on Toronto F.C. could’ve imagined.

Playing 4 games in 12 days is a tough task for any club, especially when your squad is battling injuries. But the win versus Cruz Azul has been the team’s only real positive since it began a string of games almost two weeks ago.

After taking it on the chin from New York, Toronto traveled to Panama on Tuesday to play Arabe Unido in the CONCACAF Champions League. Arabe is one of the weaker teams in TFC’s group, and the club was looking for an away win to give them six points and first place in their opening two games.

Poor field conditions forced the Panamanians to move from their usual stadium, and it looked like the change would help eliminate home field advantage: only 300 or so supporters were on hand to watch a brutal game from both sides.

Coach Preki has been saying that his club is serious about the Champions League but you wouldn’t be able to tell at the start of the game. Preki only slotted three regulars in the lineup, opting to give star players like Dwayne DeRosario and Mista the night off, and hoping the subs could grind out an away win.

Preki gets red card for time-wasting

That never happened. The only time TFC had any kind of spark was when DeRosario came on at the half… but by then it was too late. Arabe scored the only goal of the game early and held on for a 1-0 win, while Toronto seemed disinterested and finished the game with nine players when Nick Labrocca and Fuad Ibrahim picked up red cards.

With Toronto’s starters rested, it was back to MLS action and their quest to make the playoffs. It wouldn’t be easy as they hosted defending MLS cup champs Real Salt Lake at BMO field in Toronto. Real were also coming into this game off a Champions League battle with Cruz Azul in Mexico, losing a heartbreaker 5-4 in the final minute.

Toronto looked sharper in the opening half, with Canadian international Will Johnson starting on the bench for Salt Lake, along with teammate Robbie Findley. TFC couldn’t take advantage and went into the half tied at zero. Preki brought in Jacob Peterson and O’Brian White in the second half for some added offence, but they still couldn’t produce a goal as the team continues to struggle putting the ball in the back of the net. Real, on the other hand, has been a scoring machine this year without the benefit of a designated player… but they seemed a little unlucky, hitting four goal posts in the nil-nil draw.

In the four games Toronto has played, they have come away with three points in Champions League play and one point in MLS games. They get set to travel to Dallas next Saturday.

Len Grammenopoulos

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