After losing 3-2 to second year team Seattle Sounders on Saturday afternoon, Toronto FC highlighted just how bad this fourth Major League Soccer season has been for them.
Question? Twenty-two players on the pitch. How many TFC players would compete for a starting spot on Seattle's team based on this particular game?
Dwayne DeRosario? Sure. Stefan Frei? Okay. Anyone else? Maybe Nana Attakora or Adrian Cann? On an afternoon where both players, especially Cann, were very poor while Seattle's Jeff Parke was outstanding, they would at best be fringe squad players.
The point for all to see on Saturday at Qwest Field was the naive approach on the technical side of the Toronto FC soccer operation. As much as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment brag about their financial wherewithal in the running of their sporting and entertainment empire, they at the same time have proven to be very gullible owners when putting quality soccer people together, be it on or off the field.
In the past four years of MLS history never has there been such a stark contrast in how one team has assembled on field quality over another who has completely botched their squad. In only their second season in Major League Soccer, Seattle has shown what a good technical vision leads to while Toronto FC have given the world a blueprint on how not to do things.
With the experienced Sigi Schmid as their inspirational leader it has translated into a team Sounder fans can now be proud of.
On the day Seattle was excellent in all departments while Toronto looked awkward and uncomfortable. Whether on the ball or tactically reading the game, Seattle was playing on a different level to Toronto FC. In the final third in particular they always looked threatening with the clever diagonal movement of their forwards which regularly unbalanced the TFC back line.
CBC analyst Jason Devos astutely pointed out the importance of two basic responsibilities for defenders. Tracking players as well as keeping your eye on the ball. Not one over the other. Yet the TFC back line time and again committed to one option and not both. As a result, the TFC defenders were caught out too many times which lead to two goals and numerous other chances. It was a poor naive display.
Meanwhile Osvaldo Alonso in the middle of the park displayed one reason why Julian de Guzman has been so poor this season. Athletically he just cannot compete with the Alonso brand of player. And there are plenty in Major League Soccer. But even on the technical side of things JDG and Nick Labrocca were found wanting when compared to the Cuban exile. At an approximate salary of $70,000 Alonso appears to be another bargain within Major League Soccer.
But there again, all Seattle players were comfortable on the ball. It allowed them to play one and two touch football which unfortunately at times mesmerized the TFC team. Aside from the one moment of class from Dwayne DeRosario there was little to get excited about if you were a Toronto FC fan.
And so now there is nothing left for them this season.
The rebuilding job for 2011 should begin now but MLSE have no one in place who can get the job done unless of course the fan base gets sucked into the agonizing spin which all too often appears from within the gates of BMO field.
Bottom line, Toronto is a city that should never have been a place for coaches or managers to have learned their trade. It was a massive gamble which over four years has back fired.
And the same circumstance has happened with the Preki cull.
Smiling TFC players and the freedom to express ability on the ball was naively promised by the opportunistic interim head coach, Nick Dasovic. Neither has been forthcoming. And so the Dasovic experiment was another risk from MLSE which has failed. So was listening to players. Only in Canada!
From day one MLSE President and CEO Richard Peddie enthusiastically exclaimed Toronto FC as an out of the park home run in terms of it's off field success.
Well fair enough but unless they get their on-field soccer operations right this time around they will discover soon enough that Toronto soccer fans are not Toronto hockey fans. MLSE are getting a taste of it already.
Some have suggested Jurgen Klinsmann as a possible leader. Others have recommended a complete overhaul in order to start again.
Both seem appropriate at this stage.