TFC Takes A Pass – Takes No One in Re-Entry Draft
“…We have carefully weighed the cost and benefit of bringing in a player through this process and decided to pass at this time… We have to consider salary demands and weigh it against a player’s age and the specific playing style we are looking to implement for next season…We are also in a transition process, where we can’t saddle the incoming coach or manager with key pieces that may not fit his vision. We have to be cautious with those types of signings…”(TFC Interim GM Earl Cochrane)
So Toronto FC chose no one in today’s Major League Soccer Re-Entry draft. And before the day is out I think there will be a lot of chatter from many TFC fans bemoaning the fact that the Reds did not take a flyer on a player like a Juan Pablo Angel, or anyone else for that matter. Speaking of Angel, it could have been that he was chosen by the Los Angeles Galaxy with the fifth selection, one ahead of TFC (and LA traded up to get him). And now everyone left on the list become free agents, so the chance still exists that TFC may use some of these players to bolster the club for 2011. I suppose only Earl knows for sure one way or the other.
Now if you remember back, Mo Johnston was fired on September 14th of this year. That was roughly ninety days ago. And to date there has not been a replacement named. Ninety days is a long time in sports, and it is also a long time to have a job title with the word interim in front of it. Jürgen Klinsmann did state in an interview last week that he was hopeful that there would be a new coach at least brought in before Christmas and I have no reason to disbelieve him. Now if you parse Cochrane’s statement above and take a look at exactly what he said you might think that he felt that he was not able to do anything today even if he wanted to because of the fact that new permanent leadership for the club is not in place. Yet again you might not, as it is all a matter of opinion and perspective I guess.
Not only that, but it is real easy to second guess someone and I am not going to second guess Earl Cochrane today on either what he chose to do or not do. More than enough others will certainly be doing so already. What I will say is to repeat for emphasis what I said above. Ninety days is almost an eternity in sports time and that is how long TFC has been without (with due respect to Dasovic, Brennan and Cochrane) long term leadership that have a mandate to move TFC forward. The first training camp overseas in Turkey starts in five weeks from now. And there are fourteen roster spots to fill between today and the start of the 2011 season. And there is less time by the day to decide how to move forward.
It would be a shame that Toronto FC is missing out on opportunities to improve the club because the time to select new leadership for the Reds is taking such a long time. Whether today was one of those opportunities missed or not is again something to debate. However that pesky clock keeps ticking. The MLS SuperDraft is next in early January (about four weeks out), the combine is taking place soon, and the international player transfer window opens up just after the New year is rung in to name but a few critical time sensitive events.
And unfortunately the Reds have always it seemed historically been a little late to the dance. One of the moments from early last season that to me was representative in a lot of ways was has always been wrong with Toronto FC came the day of the first game of the season away to Columbus. On that very day, even though he was in camp with the club for about two weeks at the time, Dan Gargan was late arriving to the match because he was unsigned until that very morning. By all accounts he was in a cab rushing from the airport and he got to Crew Stadium an hour before kickoff. On top of that TFC could not even play that game with a full bench because there were not enough signed players with the club to fill out a starting eleven and have a full complement of subs at the same time.
If there is no new leadership in place soon the job of moving this club ahead will become harder and harder and there will be less time for the new regime in charge (whoever that turns out to be) to do their jobs effectively. And as a result there will be more days like the opener last year in Ohio to endure. Every day that passes without new permanent leadership for this club means that opportunities to get it right going forward become harder and harder.
Today was not about passing on a veteran player or two. Today was about the fact that TFC has had three months to put a new regime in place, and to date they have not done so. That is a far bigger issue than anything that happened or did not happen in the Re-Entry Draft.
What do you think? Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.