TFC 0-3 Revs : Nelsen Goes
A Bloody Big Deal or a Bloody Big Mess? That was the question on everyone’s lips after the dust had settled on Saturday evening and TFC had seemingly imploded once again by Sunday morning when they fired Coach Ryan Nelsen and pretty much his entire coaching staff, including Jim Brennan, replacing them with the current Academy director Greg Vanney and an as yet un-named team of coaches. The cherry on top was the admittance from TFC that they were “listening to offers” for DP Jermain Defoe as the transfer window in Europe was slamming shut. (Thankfully those offers were rejected in the end – although seeing Defoe in TFC red in 2015 has to be considered unlikely)
Before any of this news broke, I tweeted during the game on Saturday that it felt like a 2012 timewarp … how apt given what followed !!!
Going into Saturday’s game, TFC were winless at BMO since July 12th and although road wins against Montreal and Columbus felt good, the subsequent 4-1 thrashing in Kansas and the defensive capitulation last week in the 2-2 draw with Chicago finally saw the writing on the wall for Nelsen.
When Tim Bezbatchenko called Nelsen out in the press on Friday and asked the team to “take it up a notch” this seemed to light a fuse that had a detonation time of about 7-15pm on Saturday even if most fans were not aware of it at the time …. As a supporter and season ticket holder of TFC since day 1 and a veteran of all the other shit shows that TFC have given us, (as well as some good times) I do have to admit that this game was also the final “Nelsen Out” moment for me, the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak, and I can even pinpoint the exact moment in the game – nothing against DeRo who I think has been vastly under-utilised this season, but when he brought him on to appease the crowd shouts rather than having a clear plan or tactic it was time – but I never expected it to actually happen by the next morning.
After the game, Nelsen fired back at Bez saying that his players felt under pressure and that Bezbatchenko had pissed everyone off and made them aggravated to the point of being unable to perform … ? Really? Professional soccer players who were unable to play soccer despite being paid handsomely – very handsomely in most cases – to do so, and all because the GM asked them to do what most supporters wanted, which was to take it up a notch from the abject mediocrity that has been evident for weeks? His crime, and apparently the big turnoff for the players? to say what others were thinking publicly rather than internally … internal stuff that has so clearly worked up until now !!!! No, that’s bullshit, and after seven seasons of it TFC fans are quite adept at spotting it from managers, players and executives alike !!! Most of the supporters in the stadium would crawl over broken glass to get the chance to ply their trade in MLS or any other league, so forgive us if we dont understand how stating the truth and asking a team to up their clearly, and already acknowledged, under-par performances is pressure. Pressure is asking an average team to punch above its weight and be elite, not asking a team filled with talent to raise its game to average from mediocre !
For most, it was the latest in a long line of excuses for the lack of leadership on and off the field for TFC and one of the most ridiculous in the excuse bag. It was clear Nelsen knew what was coming. He may not have known or expected the timing, but he knew it was coming ….. so like the performance on the day, the excuse was mediocre and apparently disinterested.
One stat that I found surprising despite the $100m spent on TFC at the start of this season …. Aron Winter had an overall better record than Nelsen and that really is damning given the state of TFC during Winter’s time in charge.
Nelsen: P64 W17 D18 L29 : Win% 26.56
Winter: P64 W18 D21 L25 : Win % 28.13
And so to the replacement? Academy director Greg Vanney. The knives are out in some corners of the supporters message boards or social media before he has drawn on his first pre-game whiteboard. His managerial credentials, or lack of them, being the focus. I wont be so quick to judge. His credentials are no worse than Nelsen’s and it could be argued that if we fail to make the playoffs under him, the seeds had already been sown. This run-in is really a 10 game interview for the 2015 season as far as this supporter is concerned and if he can win a few, and get TFC looking like they are actually interested (aside from the few players who always look interested) then maybe he is worth a shot … if not, we hobble along to the end of the season (as usual) and spend the off-season figuring out which coach is actually a good fit for TFC (again). [*cough* Carl Robinson *cough*]