Back From The Dead
You know I don’t think I have gone so long between posts in this space since I started documenting my TFC related thoughts here back in March of 2010. For that I’m sorry. I will do my best to get back on the horse and start posting much more regularly than recently even though ironically TFC is heading into the World Cup break later this week.
Not that there is a lack of topics to discuss. Here are three in no particular order!
When I heard that Tim & Tim announced that Dwayne De Rosario was coming back to TFC this season I was quite pleased. Not pleased just that Toronto was bringing back a player I felt could contribute but what it represented. Time and again in the past Toronto FC management (Mo, Preki, Anselmi, Cochrane, Mariner… take your pick) was always found wanting when it came to the treatment of players. And after DeRo’s acrimonious exit I thought that his return to the squad signalled a new beginning (if DeRo could forgive & forget then anything was possible!). Going forward I thought that the Reds were now entrusted to a management team that got it. They finally understood that when you have a reputation of not treating players well you have to change that reputation one deed at a time. Sadly I now feel that the club still has a ways to go on this front.
How hard could it have been to pull Issey aside and give him a heads up that a trade was possibly being discussed in advance? Why is it so hard for a club that has just about written the book on how NOT to treat players the way they want to be treated is still making juvenile errors like this?
However there is one thing the club could do, even now, to salvage something positive from this. If the Reds win the Voyageurs Cup tonight I hope that Toronto FC award Issey a winners medal. As a cup tied player he can’s suit up for the Impact tonight in this tournament as he has already played (and scored!) for TFC. I am not sure of the policies surrounding something like this but to me this would be a class move from an organization that looked anything but classy in the handling of this trade.
The Voyageurs Cup
Ryan Nelsen will not be fired tomorrow if Toronto FC lose tonight and do not advance to the Champions League. He likely will be fired if TFC find a way to not make the MLS playoffs later in the fall. If Nelsen is the savvy guy I think he is he probably already knows this. And knowing this might see him play something less than the best starting XI he has available tonight with a MLS home game three days away back at BMO Field against San Jose. I hope he realizes that doing anything less than going for it tonight 100% is a massive mistake.
Lifting the Voyageurs Cup has been one of the very few saving graces that many of us diehards can fondly look back on. The 6-1 in Montreal back in 2009 was for many of us the best night TFC EVER had. (I would argue beating Cruz Azul at home in August 2010 was even more special – but that’s just me). Lifting trophies is what it should all be about should it not? And with the two week MLS/World Cup break soon on the horizon me thinks that not starting your very best and possibly losing because of it would have more of a negative impact on the outcome this Saturday vs San Jose than if the best players available put in an extra shift tonight!
CONCACAF has also drawn The Voyageurs Cup winner into a reasonably decent group for the Champions League group stages with the New York Red Bulls & CD FAS of El Salvador the prospective opponents. And there is the little thing of NOT LOSING TO YOUR DIRECT RIVAL IN A DERBY GAME!
Other than the DP’s no single player on our roster has arguably more of an upside than Doneil Henry. Blessed with every physical tool you can wish for a central defender to have, if he comes right he will be potentially be the cornerstone of Toronto FC (And of the Canadian National Team) for the next decade and maybe beyond. He could also head off to Europe at some point in the future if he can develop a game to match his physical gifts, reaping the club a bounty. His headers, particularly the winner against the Crew last weekend, have shown for all his ability to change games.
However his defensive lapses, and subsequent penalties and points now lost, are serious issues that might just derail what could be an exceptional outcome for a great young man. Those TFC fans that are now saying that the kid should be thrown under the bus for his faults forget that he just turned 21 and if he makes 23 more appearances for the Reds in 2014 (quite likely) he will at just 21 years of age become TFC’s all time leader in appearances with 100, eclipsing Stefan Frei on that front. Hie errors are troubling but it is far too soon to give up on him.
Does Doneil need to get the lapses/brain farts out of his game? Of course he does. Will he? I for one think so, assuming Nelsen and company handle him the right way find a way for him to move forward. Us fans need to do our part by not heaping criticism on the shoulders of someone at such a critical stage in his professional development.