You know sometimes it is hard to keep perspective, especially after a humiliation like the one Toronto FC suffered last Saturday at home at the hands of the Philadelphia Union. But perspective is what I truly feel we need right now.

Many of you might understandably think today that the outlook for the team this season is pretty bleak if you go by the latest result. And you might be absolutely right.

The result on Saturday past was without a doubt a huge disappointment. Losing by four. Conceding six at home. Most players on the field frankly taking the day off. Tactics that were either easily countered or implemented by players that are simply not able to play in that fashion. You can take your pick I suppose from this short list of reasons. And if fans feel that way after what we saw I guess they to a degree have a right to do so.

The key phrase though is “to a degree”. Many might disagree but I do not for a minute believe that the club is truly as bad as the result on Saturday indicated. Nor do I believe that they are as good as they looked last weekend in Colorado when they earned a point under tough circumstances, and frankly deserved the full three points based on the quality of the effort. They are somewhere between these two recent examples. And where exactly they are we won’t know for a good while yet.

There are still some good pieces here folks. And that has not changed since Saturday. Frei is as good a goalkeeper as there is in MLS. Saturday was just about his only poor effort so far this season. Eckersley, arguably the best player on the field for TFC Saturday was not even on the team when they broke camp. TFC has not has a true striker in the lineup since Alan Gordon went down with injury. And Joao Plata was considered nothing more than a long shot at the start of the season and now he is a usual starter.

And there are still the issues that the club needs to address. Getting more out of Julian de Guzman is key as he has shown flashes of quality but not as consistently as a designated player needs to do. Five seasons now and no true solution has been found at left fullback and the club still leaks goals more than any club in all of MLS. For each of the five seasons they have been around TFC has led the league in conceding corners and trails the league in earning them, meaning to me that their wing play has been less than impressive since day one. They are thin at striker with only one true number 9 on the roster and he is out injured right now.

Brain TrustAron Winter hinted on Saturday after the debacle versus Philly that changes are coming. The transfer window opens up soon and Toronto has some cap space available that can be used to reinforce/upgrade the squad. TFC can afford to bring on one or even two newcomers under designated player contracts. There is sufficient cap/allocation space to make that happen should the club choose to do so. Or they can go the strength in numbers route and bring in four or five non DP players if that is the path they choose to take to try and upgrade the squad. Suffice it to say there may be no Dan Gargan, Ty Harden, Nick Soolsma or the like here past the early summer.

The other thing I think many of the more reactionary fans are forgetting now is what expectations they had as individuals going into this season. Most pundits, myself included, thought going into this year that the club would struggle, that it would have a huge challenge to improve enough to get into the playoffs and that the only realistic hope of honours for the club would come in the Voyageurs Cup tournament and perhaps in the Champions League. With due respect how could an outlook like that be changed after one poor outing… or for that matter a good one line in Denver over a week ago?

No don’t get me wrong, the club should not be let off the hook by the fans for what was a true embarrassment on Saturday. Losing is one thing. But losing while most of the players on the field appear to be dogging it is inexcusable, and both players and coach have a lot to answer for to their paying customers.

This week the International break sees TFC lose three players who have been in the starting XI, de Guzman, Plata and Williams. Others who have not been deemed worthy of starting ahead of them are now going to be asked to step up. And that starts Saturday versus Kansas City, a side that to date has been even worse than TFC has been.

If they lose again on Saturday I probably will feel the same way I do today, namely that one single game is not going to make or break the campaign at this relatively early stage. But if the effort on display Saturday equals what we all saw versus Philly then I think the problems this team has might be even larger than we might actually think they are.

What do you think? Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.

5 comments

  1. Nick D'Angelo

    Well, Winter has managed to achieve something Mo never could, six goals against at home. Total Football???? More like total F**kup. Terrible performance, DeGuzman is a joke, (We should have paid DeRo DP money instead.) Winter Out, bring back Mo.

  2. theirishembassy

    i’ll agree to disagree here. at the beginning of the season many of us knew things would get bad, what shocks many is the varying degrees of bad. it may sound cliche, but the adage is still true: we knew there would be days like this.. we just didn’t realize there would be so many.

    i’m sorry to say, but anyone who thought a CCL run, or even a playoff berth was in the works was delusional. it wasn’t even realistic to me. that’s the point i often find myself emphasizing one the RPB boards.. realism. at the beginning of the season, i set goals that i wanted to see from this team, and none of them included winning. yes, the primary goal of a team is to win, i’m not debating that. however, in a season marred by the dreaded “rebuilding” tag, i’d gladly sacrifice a winning season for signs that we’ll never have see a “rebuild” for the next decade.

    the signs are there. we’re identifying problems, we’re building what looks to be the greatest academy and training facilities in the league, and we’re shedding off the shackles of previous management follies. for every person that debates that winter has brought in many of the squad members that’ve failed to perform, i have to remind them that this is his first year in the MLS. for everyone who mentions the mistakes he’s made i’ve never heard one person say we’ll be “stuck” with those mistakes akin to what we’ve heard in the past.

    toronto sports franchises are shrouded in drama, but there’s hope and there’s a future for those who want to see it. i honestly believe that next season we’ll see the results we crave. the year after that a deep playoff/CCL run.

    if you don’t want to pay to see a team in rebuild mode, or watch them on tv, no one’s holding a gun to your head, and no one will question your loyalty to the club; the past four years have given you the right to do that. the sooner we accept that this is indeed a rebuild year, the sooner we can all sit back, stop complaining and enjoy what we may have to look forward to next season.

  3. Derek Saxton

    Good analytical article, I think Mr. D’Angelo had a few good points in his comments, DeGuzman does not deserve the DP salary, yes DeRo should have, but hind sight is 20/20. Winter should stay for at least 2 years if not 3,. MLSE has to invest in a few players that are high calibre.

  4. I disagree that a rebuild requires an extensive period of time. We should be able to watch a team this year that will not compete for playoffs or MLS Cup but that will show grit and determination and as BgNewf put it, heart. If we don’t make it into the playoffs, the only acceptable alternative is to be at least competing for a playoff spot and if we miss out on it for 1 or 2 points then so be it. But as it is right now, we will be out of the playoff race by end of summer and that should be unacceptable to supporters. Why anyone would think anything less is acceptable is beyond me.

  5. Great comments all! Appreciate the differing viewpoints.

    Keep them coming!

    🙂

Leave a Reply to Roogsy Cancel reply

%d bloggers like this: