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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Interim-ish" Director continues addition by subtraction

(Left to right) Nane, Nana (Right to left) Nana, Nane

In the continuing goal to erase all memory that Toronto FC's 2010 season existed, The Reds traded midfielder Joseph Nane to the MLS Cup Champion Colorado Rapids for a 3rd Round SuperDraft pick in 2012. The affable yet vaguely talented Cameroon native, who was drafted in the 4th Round of the 2010 Draft, was absurdly and mistakenly claimed as first team quality by "management". So much so that Sam Cronin (the highly touted 1st Round pick of 2009) was soon shipped to San Jose for little in return by mastermind/ unemployment impresario Mo Johnston. Surely the rumours that Preki's agent-brother represented Nane had little to do with his acquisition and play... surely. Only crazy people would run a club like that!

The big holding midfielder will be most fondly remembered for having no one be quite sure if his name was actually Nane Joseph or Joseph Nane for two months. Apart from his name game, the graduate of Old Dominion (the American university not an aging supermarket) will be a very raw blip on the radar of TFC's long list of overhyped and undertalented roster spot bodies.

Kudos to Earl Cochrane for managing to get a 3rd Round pick for a guy most Reds supporters wouldn't have blinked at if he had been released outright. Cochrane meanwhile continues to do the basics well, mostly subtracting the dead wood assembled by PrekiMo International Inc., however if his "Interim" label does get dropped, he may find the addition part more challenging.

Monday, November 29, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Failed re-branded Kansas City club names

Mixed in the pre-MLS Cup shuffle was the news that the absurdly named Kansas City Wizards (formerly The Wiz!) were being "re-branded" by their owner as the far more footballyer Sporting Kansas City. Opinion is split in MLS circles whether this was a necessary step in making Kansas City a more "respected and relevant" club or whether it was turning their backs on their, albeit young, history. Personally we think it's a massive improvement over one of early MLS's "roller hockey" names and a step which other clubs (i.e. Newton Heath to Manchester United and Dial Square to Arsenal) have made in their formative years. Apparently Sporting wasn't a home run though and there were a list of other worthy (or not-so) finalist names for the Nu-Wiz...
11. Kansas City City
10. Midwest Ham United
9. Olympique De Missouri
8. Kansas City Reals
7. Farma FC
6. Wizardhampton Wanderers
5. KFC
4. Kansas City Kaizer Chiefs
3. BBQ Hamburger SV
2. Corninthians
1. FC Kansaslautern

Friday, November 26, 2010

Das Falsche Konsültant Journal: Day Zwanzig - Der turkey und stüffing

7 AM: Why must das influenza deceive mein immunën system?! Herr Anselmi, Chancellor of FC Toronto begged und begged me to attend MajorLiga Pokal Final in Toronto auf Sunday nacht. He told me I must sit outdoorsën to “be seen on die TeeEssenToo”. Was ist das TeeEssenToo? Harsh Kanadian wind has given me sickness.
8:15 AM: Widerlich! Mein nose is dripping like damaged battleship at the Hanseatic port of Rostock! Dear kitty kat Karl-Heinz is giving me tender kisses but little can bring joy to mein impacted nasal cavity. Must arise soon - much konsültantwerk to be done... und must prepare for Yankee turkey sacrifice celebration of Danksagung.
9 AM: Breakfast: Mein tastebüden have failed me. How can man expected to werk das full day without die taste of breakfast sausage? This lingenberry juice has given me nothing. Nothing!!!
10:30 AM: Must inspect FC Toronto list of sacrificial players for MajorLiga Fussball Expansion of Territory Draft soon. Must rest more first. Bavarian kaffee und an episode of hit German morning TV show “Now Is The Time To Wake! Mit Nina Hagen” It is der special episoden live from Paul die Psychic Octopüsen funeral und feast.
12 PM: FC Toronto sacrificial list looks liken Bundesliga 3 squad Stuttgarter Kickers! I emailen mein suggestions to Earl of Cockrain und der JimmyBee on mein SchwarzBerry:
Protect Julian der Guzman, Dvayne Der Rozario und Stefan Freiberg. Stop. Eliminate rest of squad immediately. Stop. Nick Garcia must be neutralized. Stop. The eagle flies backwards at night. Over.
12:15 PM: Herr Anselmi texten me back: “Draft was yesterday. Don’t sweat it - we sold tons of tickets after you were on TV on Sunday! Booyah! T.A.” Oh mein Gott! I slept through der Wednesday? Why did I ingest doppel dose of German cold medicine NyKill? How could this happen! My konsültantwerk has been undermined by Earl of Cockrain! Und was ist “Booyah”?!
12:30 PM: My mood has grown dark like Black Forest nacht. Mein father would find me a disgrace. Why vater why?!
12:45 PM: Lunch: Influenza has stripped my appetite of vigour. Das konsültancy failures have made it worsen. Force myself to eat 8 linken of Spiced Leipzig Würst. Give remaining linken to dear Karl-Heinz. Radical fuzzy little dude.
1:30 PM: Urgent telefonën call from FC Toronto! Der JimmyBee wants to know mein thoughts on a NathanSturgis. I think it is type of British submarine? I inform der JimmyBee I will call back. Check on the Interwebën und best German website VikiPediaFile under “nathansturgis”. Achtung! He is a mittlefeldspieler at FC Seatllesounden! Call back JimmyBee and say he is solid like a VW Camper but do not spend too many Kanadamarks on him.
2 PM: Earl of Cockrain has given zie Vancouver WeissAlpen der First Round Pick in der MLS ÜberDraften for! He ist nicht der GM! I am due to konsült on new GM! My soul is blackened with rage and runny nose.
2:30 PM: I will only take half dosage of NyKill und lay on der sofa while hausfrau begins cooking of traditional Amerikan turkey sacrifice. Watch Thanksgiving traditional NFL-Germany gridiron match between Leipzig Bureaucrats und Wiesbaden Sullen Bears.
7 PM: Scheisse!!! Damn that NyKill! Why must you be so powerful? I have slept for hours! Der turkey is ready to be divided und conquered...
7:15 PM: The Dinner: Armed with mein ceremonial Bavarian sabre, turkey is cut in half und der flanks become separated from rest of unit. Resistance becomes futile as der noble bird is annexed region by region. Stüffing mit sage und nuts - delightful!
8:00 PM: Two texten messagen! Herr Anselmi says “Happy Thanksgiving, wanna give an interview about how great Earl is doing?” Scheisse. Then texten from gut friend Teddy Sheringham “Yo JK I’m in Vegas! It’s turkey day but I’m always a breast and thigh man! LOL!” I do not understand. Was ist lol?
9:00 PM: Erotische Zeit (mit extra gravy)
9:45 PM: Taken more NyKill. I must defeat das influenza... und then I must see to the demise of Earl of Cockrain. I am sure the HMS NathanSturgis was torpedoed in der Baltic...

“Das Falsche Konsültant Journal” does not claim to represent the words of any real Germanic person living, dead or miscellaneous. No turkey was conquered in the publication of this falsche Bavarian diary. Danke.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

TFC pays high price for Nathan Sturgis

Don't worry Nathan... it's just like an expansion team

There are definitely two sides to the coin in this afternoon's transfer of American midfielder Nathan Sturgis to Toronto FC from Vancouver. While most Reds supporters, including this space, have been crying out for better depth and "MLS quality" players, the price to achieve that - Toronto's First Round Draft Pick in 2011 - will have many scratching their heads. Especially for a player involved in the previous day's Expansion Draft.
Sturgis is a reliable, if not injury prone, holding midfielder who is definitely a step up from yesterday's released Martin Saric. The 23 year-old American has had stints with LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and most recently Seattle and is still a young talent despite six seasons in the league. "Interim-ish" GM Earl Cochrane made the argument that Sturgis represented better value than anything TFC could hope to draft in the 8th slot overall but some would disagree.
While any draft is a bit of a crap-shoot, the 2011 version is reportedly fairly deep and it does seem to outsiders that Sturgis could have been acquired for less. The truth of that will never be known but if Canadian rival Vancouver ends up turning Toronto's pick into a future gem, the egg will remain on The Reds' face for years to come. Few can argue that Nathan Sturgis is a step in the right direction for Toronto's depth charts but the move does once again raise huge alarms. If Earl Cochrane has the green-light to part with one of the club's biggest building blocks - surely he is the one doing the team building in the long-term. Of course, the other side of that coin is - if his hiring is inevitable, at least work is being done in November… not late March.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

O'Brian White(caps) moves (slowly) westward - TFC trims more fat

What could a Jamaican possibly like about Vancouver?

Going into the MLS Expansion Draft, Toronto FC dangled a couple of big names in front of Portland and Vancouver followed by a list of its various underachievers and also-rans. Looking at the list prior to the draft, most would have believed TFC would have a better chance of having its junk grabbed if it went through U.S. airport security. Badum-bum! Thanks, I'm here through the draft - try the butty.
With that said, it came as a mild surprise that Vancouver decided to draft former Toronto First Round SuperDraft pick O'Brian "Montego/Malvern Molasses" White in the 6th Round. White, who entered the league injured and never seemed to find his way back to full speed is a striker with some promise but also one with an increasingly questioned work ethic and a fairly sizeable contract. The recently capped Jamaican International marks something of a project for Whitecaps FC but if they can kick-start his career it will be an egg on the face of their Canadian cousins without the risk of taking on Julian de Guzman's DP contract.
The draft turned out to have a fairly deep field and the newly minted Whitecaps can enter the league with quality names such as Sanna Nyassi, Atiba Harris and sexy adult film star/ goalkeeper Joe Cannon. Timbers grabbed a few big names of their own today, snagging the likes of Dax McCarty, Robbie Findlay and Jonathan Bornstein. While many of the selected may end up becoming trade bait, it's more than disturbing to compare the similarities of these two first-year clubs and our very own local fifth-year offering and the unprotected "junk" still on its books.

Later in the day TFC "Interim-ish" GM Earl Cochrane and the club announced further ballast jettisoned from "Bad-Ship TFC". No less than five players, all of the scrap-heap variety, were released by the club and their contracts terminated. The players released include:
GABE GALA: The only man who wasted more time at BMO Field over the last four years was Mo Johnston
MARTIN SARIC: The Argentine-Croat version of Kevin Harmse will likely get a red card on his way to the airport
MAXIM USANOV: His Ivan Drago-esque need to "break you" and punching random things will be missed. His South End nickname "Maximum Uselessnov" will be remembered fondly
RAIVIS HSCANOVICS: So many consonants. So little talent. Gdbye swt Ltvjn frnd.
MISTA: You may have been a whiny, unsporting waste of money who didn't give a toss but your signing was a big nail in Mo Johnston's coffin. For that hombre, we salute you.

All in all it was a day where much fat was trimmed from the roster. The common thread? Apart from Gabe Gala, every departed player represents the worst of the Mo Johnston era. We're still waiting on Nick Garcia. Cochrane may be "interim-ish" but today was a necessary cull.

Vancouver Whitecaps sent O'Brian White to Seattle Sounders late Wednesday evening in a flurry of moves that saw them free cap room, gain allocation money and International slots. O'Brian White... more will be expected of you. Good luck.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

THE WORD: Bas Ent-ertainment? Dutch midfielder to Reds?

Very poor man's Rafael van der Vaart?

On the eve of the MLS expansion draft comes a rumour that Toronto FC has signed Dutch midfielder Bas Ent to a three-year contract. Haven't heard of Bas Ent? Not to worry, neither has most of Holland! However, if you were at this past season's TFC v Bolton Wanderers friendly you have seen him... you just didn't know it.

Ent has been playing in the USL PDL with the nationalistic Dayton Dutch Lions of Dayton, Ohio - obviously a hotbed of North American Dutch culture. (You should try Dayton's coffee shops!) While with Dutch Lions, Ent had a trial with TFC and actually dressed for a half with The Reds against Bolton. Previous to his stint in the U.S. Ent had bounced around the Dutch lower divisies with his career high being a 10 game stint with second tier FC Volendam. He is currently the property of Dutch powerhouse club (I don't know how to do Holland sarcasm) VV Katwitjk but may have done enough to impress TFC to garner a long-term deal.

If the move does get completed it does raise one major league alarm bell. Why is the "interim" GM making signings that will effect the 2011 roster? Yes, Ent's contract won't be guaranteed for 2011 but we thought they were still working on a "philosophy"? The rumour may come to naught but if it does materialise, isn't it about time we realize that the "interim" in front of Earl Cochrane's title is "interim" in itself. Colour us unsurprised.


Dutch man's Andy Welsh?

Expansion waste lines

You gotta try the "Chicken Frei Rice"

Less than a day after Colorado lifted the MLS Cup Trophy in Toronto, the league's clubs were back to work. Yesterday evening, all clubs released their Protected List thus exposing the "unprotected" to the 2011 Expansion Draft. The full league unprotected list is a mixture of over-priced underachievers, unwanted internationals and players who just haven't developed quite fast enough. For new league entrants Vancouver and Portland, it's akin to arriving at a Chinese Buffet ten minutes before closing. There may be one or two decent crab legs left but it's mostly soggy noodles and dried out egg rolls.
Toronto FC's offerings are a pretty thin menu indeed. To keep the unnecessary yet appetizing analogy going - mostly the bottom of the Wonton Soup and the bland Jell-O desserts. Except that is, for two tasty morsels that may tempt the palate of the Whitecaps and/or Timbers. Grab your moist towelette as we take a stroll past TFC's hot plates and see what's on offer.
CHAD BARRETT - One of the two big names that TFC didn't protect. Portland could be tempted by the hometown boy but a contract that will near $300K in 2011 makes him a big gamble. Price may be the reason TFC hopes the overpaid The Chad is snagged.
JULIAN DE GUZMAN - One of the biggest names in the draft. The DP hasn't performed solidly enough yet but his talent is indeed there. Surely TFC talked this move over with the star and his selection is unlikely unless Vancouver wants to make a massive splash.
GABE GALA - It looks like the young Canadian's days are coming to an end in Toronto. By all accounts he had the tools to make something of himself but is weighed down by a massive ego and poor work ethic. Maybe Vancouver pads its Canadian quota?
NICK GARCIA: Very little chance of Portland or Vancouver taking this piece of work on. Not unless they really want to up their "own-goal" stats or put a dodgy character in their locker room.
RAIVIS HSCANOVICS: Despite the awesome headline "Raivis tkn in expnsn drft" it is very unlikely. Not up to scratch in MLS, which doesn't say much for the Latvian League.
FUAD IBRAHIM: As soon as Ibrahim's Generation Adidas contract ran out, his time at TFC was likely going to follow. Still young but plays like a drunken baby giraffe. Recent inclusion in Team USA set-up may make him an attractive late prospect for Portland.
MILOS KOCIC: Keepers are a rare commodity in expansion drafts and Kocic looks like he has the chops to be a current MLS back-up. Could be an intriguing and cheap # 2 for either club.
MISTA: He came. He saw. He sulked. Can't imagine any clubs on either side of the Atlantic are too interested in a poor Sean Penn impersonator... and worse hitman.
AMADOU SANYANG: Definitely a tempting project, especially with the return of the Reserve League. Likely a numbers game for TFC on this choice but a bit surprising that he was unprotected before the pricier Jacob Peterson.
MARTIN SARIC: If Timbers or 'Caps are looking for that lucrative "Foreign Kevin Harmse" demographic then Saric is their man. One of TFC's infamous last-minute signings, the reckless Argentine-Croat isn't better than most available players in that position.
MAXIM USANOV: What club doesn't want a hilarious Russian with a penchant for punching stuff? What's that? Good clubs? Oh... right. Much like Ivan Drago's unbeaten record, Usanov's MLS career looks likely to it hit the mat.
O'BRIAN WHITE: The NCAA "can't miss" prospect has become the MLS "can't score" project. The increasingly slow (now) Jamaican International isn't likely attractive due to a hefty contract and a hefty mid-section. Likely back with TFC in 2011.
Whatever Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps do decide to pick up with the MLS Expansion tongs, it’s likely that many of these TFC leftovers will still be on The Reds' books on Thursday. Whether they are still on the menu at BMO Field in 2011 depends on Earl Cochrane… oh – I mean the big-time GM that is surely on the way. Uh-huh. Why do we get the feeling a stale chicken ball will be what we’re left with in the front office?

Monday, November 22, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Reasons Toronto fans left the MLS Cup early

Extra Time is just about to kick-off...

Poor, poor Toronto FC supporters. As if we don't have to put up with enough from our Goat-god worshipping, panda-eating, Cochrane-promoting ownership... today we're getting it in the ear from our MLS supporter rivals from around the continent!. Our fabled and over-marketed "BMO Field atmosphere" didn't live up to its own hype during last night's Cup Final with a mixture of apathetic crowds, empty seats and a mass exodus well before the 90th minute. Locally we know that supporters have been used and abused by ML$E and that had much to do with the lacklustre turn-out (so enough of your lip North America... you don't know our pain! Single tear) but there were still other reasons Torontonians headed for the exits early...
11. They stopped selling beer in the 75th minute... duh!
10. Had tickets for the 11PM showing of Harry Potter
9. Insulted that away supporters didn't know "The Dichio Song"
8. Thought there was a spontaneous 83rd minute walk-out to protest against ML$E

7. Stood up to get on TSN2's cameras so I could seen by dozens across Canada
6. Was sure that I bought tickets for Avalanche vs. Stars
5. I came. I gave Jeff Cunningham the finger. I left.
4. Only bought tickets to hear Garber's halftime interview
3. Chip Buttys only have a 68 minute shelf-life
2. No buffet car on the 11PM GO Train
1. Could no longer feel own ass

Buffet Car is in carriage 5. Try the salmon... exquisite!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

AFTER 90: Canadian Rocky Mountain High - MLS Cup Final 2010 Special Edition

Well it felt that way!

MLS Cup Final
After all the bluster in the weeks leading up to tonight's MLS Cup Final about possible fan boycotts and fears of an empty BMO Field, only bedtime ruined the night. A healthy-sized if muted (for BMO Field standards) crowd did end up attending the match but Major League Soccer's ridiculous scheduling on a late Sunday night killed what atmosphere there may have been. When the players so rudely decided to play extra time, a good chunk of the crowd decided not to join them.
It's a shame too. The match, which turned out to be very entertaining for the neutral, should have been enjoyed on Saturday or Sunday afternoon without the rush to get home for work or school in the morning nor fighting the freezing night temperatures. For two of the league's least "glamorous" clubs, Colorado and Dallas put up a good fight with both of their star players, Conor Casey and league MVP David Ferreira grabbing goals. A nicely wrapped 90 minute package would have been ideal but neutral supporters can't be expected to put up with conditions that were created by care for media outlets, NFL schedules and advertising revenue before fans. The league must fix this for future success.
Sadly, the on-field result came down to an own-goal mistake by FC Dallas' George John. The least they could have done was penalty kicks for the hardcores who stuck it out to the end. How rude of our visitors! In the end, Toronto's turn to host the MLS Cup Final will be a mere apathetic blip in MLS history. We could hold out hope that future league playoffs will turn out better but league commissioner Don Garber laid out plans for a ridiculous sound expanded playoff structure. "Great" said future TFC GM Earl Cochrane - "my job just got easier!"
Congrats to Rapids (despite your Arsenal leanings) and come back again to both sets of terrific sets of travelling supporters. Sorry about the frostbite. Hope you like the Butty.
MATCH IN FIVE WORDS: Long. Cold. Early GO Train.
TOTALLY FAKE POST-MATCH QUOTE: "H-h-h-ow d-d-d-do you p-p-p-eople live in th-th-th-these c-c-c-conditions?" - Jose, travelling (and chilly) FC Dallas supporter

Wynne: Congrats to a class act

Saturday, November 20, 2010

THE MATCHUP: On the outside looking in... MLS Cup Final Toronto 2010 Special Edition

The word "Toronto" near a trophy... so rare!

Back in those glorious, successful Mo Johnston-led years, Toronto FC owners, Maple Leaf Sports & "Entertainment", promised to bring a championship to the city within their famous "five-year plan". Well, they did it... and with a year left on the plan! The fact that TFC aren't anywhere near the Cup Final is a minor detail they'd rather us not mention.
Yes, The Bay Street Monopoly Tycoons persuaded Major League Soccer to hold their biggest match in Toronto... in late November... with dollar signs flashing in their eyes. At that time, TFC-fever meant that ML$E could put a red shirt on a monkey and charge $200 dollars but a disastrous 2010 season followed by gluttonous ticket price increases meant that MLS Cup interest disappeared in the city. On this realization of course, ML$E "gifted" the tickets on top of 2011 Season Ticket prices thus creating fan anger which has further fuelled local animosity towards the match. Sunday evening's 0 Degree Celsius weather forecast is just the karma cherry on top.
ML$E of course prayed to whatever secret sun/goat god they worship for a New York v LA final but alas they were "re-gifted" with the least glamourous final in MLS history. While the match may indeed turn out to be entertaining and will crown a first-time champion, it did nothing to create any "Cup Fever". In Toronto, the apathy is palpable and you get the feeling that ML$E would rather the whole potentially embarrassing event would just go away. Planned "fan events" and celebrations have been muted at best and Monday can't seem to come quick enough. Of course, that means ML$E must once again pretend to prepare for TFC to be in next year's final. But they'd rather we don't mention that either.
BURGUNDY BOREDOM: Conor Casey, Pablo Mastroeni, Marvell Wynne
FC DULL-ASSED: Kevin Hartman, Brek Shea, David Ferriera 

- Don Garber wondering aloud "where the league's best fans are?": 5-1
- Players succumbing to frostbite related injuries: 3-1
- ML$E still managing to make a massive profit: EVENS
- Sunday's match may be the coldest cup final since Dynamo Iqaluit beat Alert Wednesday in the 1992 Inuit Champions League Final
- BMO Field is preparing for the expected rush of visiting Colorado and Dallas supporters with 9 extra folding chairs on order
- ML$E are training their employees to keep Toronto FC supporters as far from the MLS Cup as possible, in order to keep expectations in check for 2011
RAPIDS FANS SAY: 2-1 Colorado
FC DALLAS FANS SAY: Huh? We have a soccer team? 14-10 Texas?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Das Falsche Konsültant Journal: Day Vierzehn - What is this Wendelclaärk?

8:45 AM:
Oh mein Gott! Have slept late! Forgot to programmen der awaken siren. It was the mistake to stay up and watch hilarious German komedy film "This Marriage Has Broken My Soul". Must arise schnell! Where are meine underlederhosen?
8:55 AM: Mein SchwarzBerry is full of texten messages from FC Toronto Chancellor Herr Anselmi. Keep forgetting about der time zonen difference! Dummkopf! WIll tend to der business but must feed beloved kitty kat Karl-Heinz first.
9 AM: Breakfast: Liberate herring and pickled beet omelette from plate. French cuisine made superior with der German ingredient occupation. Milk moustachen makes me look like old Rudi Völler!
10 AM: Great Beckenbauer's Ghostën! Another texten message from Herr Anselmi! Eagerly wants me to attenden zie MajorLiga Soccer Cup FInal in Toronto. Says ticket sales are "in the toilet". Why ist the tickets in der toilette? Dass is why Bee Moe Stadt will be empty? Was that ein German toilette joke? Kanadian humour escapes my reach.
10:30 AM: Need to relax. Hausefrau to give me seaweed und saurkraut massage followed by three minutes reminder that I am a disappointment to my father. Why vater why? Ready for the day.
11:30 AM: Talk to Maple Leaf Sportlich und Underhaltung Chancellor Anselmi and Kommandant Beirne for lengthy duration. I ask how they want FC Toronto to play like? They answer “like eis hockey Maple Leaves.” What ist der philosophy you want I say? They say “heart and der grit... like eis hockey.” I say was ist der player you would like? They say something like “der Wendelclaärk or Der Duggy!” Was ist der Wendelclaärk und Duggy? It is Kanadian machine for the excavation? Ich bin confused! I tell them I must call back later. Their idiocy has become tiresome and they have brought great darkness to my cheerful Bavarian personality.
11:45 AM: Nackt Yoga.
11:55 AM: Polizei knock on door. Complaint from neighbour due to Nackt Yoga.
1 PM: Lunch: Have retreated from plans to invade last evening's leftover Blood Sausage. Instead open can of German favorit "Chef Boy-är-Dieter" Noodle & Liverwurst flavor. Eat out of can und watch German satellite TV show "Late Night mit Gerd Müller" mit special guest Run Lola Runfrau.
3 PM: Call back Kanada. Interrupt MLEssen meeting. Herr Anselmi says not to worry - secret virgin ritual can wait for later. He asks if I have made new TFC philosophy. I tell him dass I am thinking FC Toronto should emulate style of 1990's Borussia Dortmund. There was long silence on telefon. I think I am hearing Herr Anselmi whispering - something, something "like leafenraptors" something, something "cheapest available" then I think I am hearing a goat... then something "Kokrane und Jimmy Bee" and then "replace him mit Dichio in July". Then Anselmi came back on der telefon and says "Great Jürgen, this Russian Door Mound Style sounds terrific. Our board will look it over and choose what works in this hard-nosed, low-on-talent but high-on-grit style you chose." I start yelling that “dies ist not what I say” but the telefon went dead.
5 PM: Have been sitting with Karl-Heinz in die dark. Was jüst happened? Why did Herr Anselmi not understand me? Is it mein poor Kanadian Englische? Why does he want all players on der klub to have das handlebar moustachen?
6 PM: Herr Anselmi texten again - really wants me at MajorLiga Pokal Final. I say “who is playing?” He answers "Colorado Rockies und Texas". Told him I must be in Vegas with Teddy Sheringham that night... and washing mein hair.
8 PM: The Dinner: Today's meeting angered mein appetite. Only eat 5 bratwürst, 2 pork schnitzel and barely touched mein potato & eel salat. Defeat is upon me.
8:30 PM: Time for "CSI: Frankfurt"
9:30 PM: Erotische Zeit
10:30 PM: It has been scheisse day! Something is rotten in Düsseldorf! Am I not das konsültant? Am I jüst der ticket monkey? This cannot be - I am World Cup legend! I want to fixen FC Toronto but was ist “the Anaheim Ducks method”? Today is boring me. Kraftwerk's Greatest Hits and Ovaltine mit Jagermeister will bring end to my dark day.
“Das Falsche Konsültant Journal” does not claim to represent the words of any real Germanic person living, dead or miscellaneous. No moustachen was handlebarred in the publication of this falsche Bavarian diary. Danke.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Toronto FC "philosophy" needs results before romance

WANTED: a footy philosophy. Or wins. You know... whatever.

Leading up to Jürgen Klinsmann's appointment as Toronto FC's consultant, and indeed throughout his first press conference, the importance of finding a Toronto-specific football philosophy has been trumpeted. In fact, that very conference and Klinsmann's job so far has featured very little in the way of facts and has relied heavily on this romanticised view of team-building. While the idea in theory would be a wonderful luxury to have, is it really what TFC needs immediately? Or, is it a wordy way of fiddling while Rome continues to burn?
Klinsmann and (apparently) ML$E love the idea of finding a club philosophy which reflects local supporters and their footy culture. The finest clubs in the world are known for their individual styles but creating one isn’t an off-season project akin to stadium expansion or new kits. These kinds of legends usually grow organically in a club over decades, not stamped on a club with a "philosophy template". While you can push the club's play in a certain direction, long-term club personality must mature naturally. There are other obstacles to TFC's new found philosophical debate also.
Firstly, why would Jürgen Klinsmann, a man with no knowledge of Toronto and one with a very limited tenure at TFC be responsible for forging it? As admirable as his football mind is, he has no long-term vested interest in seeing through this new “local style” which would take years to mature. The sad fact is that ML$E is so barren of football knowledge in its front office, that it had to look outside its walls to find anyone with that capability. I congratulate them for not allowing Jim Brennan to handle that task but question their use of assets in Klinsmann while issues like a new GM are paramount.

If in fact this new philosophy is to be implemented, what version of Toronto is it supposed to represent? Is it the fast-paced, energetic, bombing style loved by English fans; the cultured possession and defensive soundness that Continental European fans enjoy; the flair and technical prowess known to South American fans; or even a physical and practical North American style? In this most multicultural of cities, you will never “create” a philosophy which represents all, it just has to happen.
Sadly, ML$E VP Tom Anselmi thinks he knows the style you want. In interviews leading up to Klinsmann’s arrival, Anselmi was very clear about the “Toronto philosophy” stating “What type of player and style of play is appreciated by the Canadian soccer fan and, specifically, the Toronto soccer fan? If you look at hockey, people in Canada love the overachiever, not so skilled, but hard-working, tough, edgy kind of hockey player, and I suspect there’s something similar to the type of football player they like.” If this is what Anselmi sees, then you can be sure that it’s what you will be seeing at BMO. This “hockey-style” plays right into ML$E’s hands as they can fill the roster with cheap “lunchbox” players like Dan Gargan and Martin Saric while promoting them as footy’s Wendel Clark. And ominously - who better to implement this “Torontonaccio” than the home-grown Earl Cochrane & Jim Brennan combo as GM and associate?
Only the years ahead will tell what kind of identity Toronto FC will forge but is this the best use of our high-priced consultant’s time? While Klinsmann and Co. wax poetically about the evolution of The Reds’ spirit, other MLS teams (especially Vancouver) are putting the right staff in place in front offices and on the pitch as they prepare for 2011. As much as we’d all love a club that means something on a higher plane, most TFC fans would first settle for a good GM/coach followed by some wins.

Monday, November 15, 2010

THE STARTING 11: ML$E promotional slogans for the MLS Cup Final

Hope those are thermal gold jumpsuits ladies

Oh sweet, sweet karma. When ML$E first decided to lobby Major League Soccer to host this year's Cup Final, the golden goose known as Toronto FC was still honking majestically. Anselmi & Co. thought that they could sell any "soccer" game at BMO Field and those wacky immigrant TFC supporters would just snap up tickets. Then 2010 happened. ML$E in all of its wisdom let TFC slide into oblivion and once it was obvious that The Reds wouldn't be anywhere near the playoffs - desire to watch MLS Cup diminished. ML$E's answer was to panic and force feed their "valued" season ticket holders unwanted Cup tickets, but when two of the league's most boring clubs qualified for the final, clubs who struggle to find home supporters, the selling job for remaining seats got that much harder...
11. "Told you we'd bring the Cup to Toronto!"
10. "Ticket: $75. Windchill: -10C. Frostbite: Priceless."
9. "Watch Marvell Win!"
8. "Like the Super Bowl - without pesky crowds!"
7. "Please... don't embarrass us in front of Don Garber"
6. "Come party with all 13 Away Supporters!"
5. "Let's show MLS how to put chips on bread!"
4. "Be a part of history... the lowest attended final ever"
3. "Did you hear what Colorado said about your mother?"
2. "Did we mention Jürgen Klinsmann yet?"
1. "2 Bores 1 Cup"

Friday, November 12, 2010

Das Falsche Konsültant Journal: Day Sieben - How to get to Yonge Strasse?

7 AM: Achtung! Buzzed by the Awaking Siren at Toronto hotel. Today is full of excitement - I am proclaimed as Konsültant und Field Marshall at FC Toronto. Did not sleep gut. Luft Kanada Airline was like Hobo Lufthansa and Toronto night was cold like Lothar Matthäus handshake. Dreamt of my dear kitty Karl-Heinz then met by sleep.
7:15 AM: Looking out of hotel window. Was ist das giant CNN tower building? Tall, yet cold and grey... almost German. Toronto ist like Berlin... without good bier.
8AM: Breakfast: Das Kontinental breakfast has brought great shame to mouth region. Why must this hotel make a mockery of sausage?! Am rethinking this Kanadian mission. Mood has become sullen. I banish tray from room.
9 AM: Call home to Kalifornia - get hausfrau to put mein kitty-cat Karl-Heinz on the telefon. He ist the only one who gets me. Love that fuzzy cool dude!
10 AM: Herr Anselmi, Chancellor of FC Toronto, will be taking me on das tour of his favorit places in die city in gold plated limo.
12 PM: Das tour is over. Herr Anselmi took me to four banks und zie underground bunker of Maple Leaf Sportlich Und Unterhaltung. I think he asks if I want to try "a panda bear sandwich" but must be my poor Kanadian language. Why does Fussball Klub owner need ein giant laser?
1 PM: Lunch: How can metropolis of millions not provide a pickled herring luncheon?! Settle for traditional Kanadian meal consisting of Hamburger SV and carved potatoes lined in orderly fashion. Der horseradish is a disgrace - cannot taste horse nor radish. Hunger destroyed, craving of herring remains.
2 PM: Arrive at Bee Moe Stadt for konference with Toronto telecommunicätions media. Why are they all Englanders? Und why do they think I am responsible for fixing die Klub? Herr Anselmi will make das decision! The telefünken press does not ask difficult questions. Reminded me of press meeting at Tottenham when Teddy Sheringham would refuse to wear der pants! His Dummerchen wafting about like flagge! Herr Anselmi very quiet in der konference, just kept whispering “excellent... excellent”. Media think I am wonderful. They are not incorrect. Now ist the time where I depart.
4 PM: Souvenir shopping on Yonge Strasse. Bought Karl-Heinz special Kanada Kitty gift. Küte!
5 PM: At Herr Lester Pearson Flughafen awaiting flight back to Kalifornia. Eat Kanadian bacon sandwich to avoid food on Luft Kanada in-flight meal. I do not yet understand the Kanadian cuisine. What kind of flughafen lounge does not sell tripe or even beef tongue?
7 PM: In-flight television machine has become tiresome. No more eis hockey documentary! Scheisse! Guten thing I downloaded # 1 German sit-com “Your Uncle Has Become Suicidal” und latest “Deutschland’s Funniest Chemical Disasters” Now dass ich quality unterhaltung!
10 PM: Arrive home. Defrost herring. Tell Karl-Heinz of my Kanadian mission. We have tender tickling and emotional bonding. Wunderbar.
11 PM: Erotische zeit.
11:55 PM: Texten message from Herr Anselmi: “Thanks for that! We sold 500 tickets today! Will FedEx you some Panda tomorrow!” Kanada is strange.
“Das Falsche Konsültant Journal” does not claim to represent the words of any real Germanic person living, dead or miscellaneous. No panda was schnitzeled in the publication of this falsche Bavarian diary. Danke.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Vage" - German for vague

Supporters still in the dark...

Toronto FC rolled out the Willkommen Wagon today as new consultant/Bavarian Jesus, Jürgen Klinsmann met the Toronto press for the first time since his SoccerSolutions firm was hired by the club. The former German superstar, accompanied by his business partner that no one cared about, was his usual media-friendly and engaging self, charming a media room that seemed a bit in awe of the World Cup hero. Unfortunately, for those expecting an afternoon of blueprints for TFC's future were left wanting by vague football romanticism and careful corporate outlines.
The well-spoken Klinsmann wasn't challenged by any tough questions from the local media but still offered very little in the way of new information. Most things mentioned today had already been said by ML$E's Tom Anselmi in recent interviews but Klinsmann did offer some minor points of interest...  
  • SoccerSolutions is hired to consult with TFC until the beginning of the 2011
    season and all of their recommendations are due by then
  • The consultancy firm's wide network of global connections will help recommend potential new staff members but (and this is a mighty big but) all final hiring decisions will come down to Tom Anselmi
  • The vision for the club's future will be formed by creating a style that suits Toronto and its citizen's football philosophy (Anselmi let it slip in a previous interview that this philosophy includes players who may not be skilled but have grit and determination. Great.)
  • When discussing the coaching staff, mentioned that they are "lead by Nick" (Dasovic).No further comment given if that reference means Dasovic is in the long-term head coaching picture
  • In a cringe-worthy Mo Johnston-esque moment, Klinsmann excused the sorry state of the club by mentioning that it was "only a fourth year franchise"

At the end of the conference neither fan nor media could help but feel they learned little. It was nice to see Klinsmann and having him associated with the club is not a bad thing by any means but expecting him to be the absolute saviour seems far-fetched. Until (and if) supporters learn more about Klinsmann's power or see concrete results it can be argued that it is nothing more than an overhyped corporate consultancy gig, or worse, an elaborate ML$E PR move.
The only saving graces of the appointment are the possibly naive hopes that ML$E truly sees the need to fix Toronto FC at this very moment in time; and also that Klinsmann's SoccerSolutions company will be looking for a victory. If the consultancy firm can perform a minor miracle in Toronto it would be a major feather in their cap. For now, TFC supporters are still stuck in limbo, wondering if Jürgen Klinsmann is the answer to our woes or just another name in the long line of ML$E promotional campaigns. Only time... and more importantly actions, will tell.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Could Cup Final failure be good for MLS?

Away supporters arrive in Toronto for the MLS Cup

When the proverbial Garcia was hitting the fan in TFC-land a month ago, the initial fear from those on high wasn't necessarily the club's long-term health but the sudden fan anger's effect on the upcoming MLS Cup Final match in Toronto. ML$E and Major League Soccer bigwigs both, were sweating audibly at the sudden image of a half-empty BMO Field... in a blizzard... with Dallas and Colorado playing to a scoreless draw... on (sort of) national TV.
Code Reds were alerted forcing MLS boss Don Garber to fly into Toronto and crow about how fantastic Toronto supporters are and the mythical "model club" that TFC supposedly is. While Garber was on "Charm Tour 2010", ML$E scrambled to assure their fans that things would change in the future and that the mandatory purchase of MLS Cup tickets was some kind of "wondrous" gift. Toronto supporters are still split on whether they will attend the Final with many holding out for the potentially dull finalists and/or the potentially terrible weather forecast. However, could a sparsely attended Final in a "jewel" MLS city be a positive agent for change?
Major League Soccer's playoff system and indeed its final match are both flawed entities that are stuck in the iron grip of North American reality. While the playoff system is likely here to stay, the enforced and false "East vs. West" conference play caused matchups that should not have even existed in a best vs. worst format and have created the geographically absurd "East Final" between San Jose and Colorado. Last time we checked, neither Denver nor San Jose relocated to the Eastern Seaboard. If the playoffs have to stay, a single-table leading to a 1 vs. 8 seeding is the only sane way forward.
The problem of the MLS Cup Final itself is that it has far less to do with football as it does "entertainment". MLS is stuck on trying to have its own "Super Bowl" with the requisite concerts and "fan experience zones" which of course necessitates a neutral venue for planning, rather than the match being played in the higher seeded finalist’s park. This robs the match of real atmosphere with North American geography stifling travelling support and the fact that football hasn't reached that "mega-game" place for the continent's neutral sports fans.
MLS apologists will argue that all major football finals in Europe and elsewhere are neutral site but that excuse doesn't fly as 95% of world football also doesn't rely on playoffs to crown the league champion. Picking and choosing bits from around FIFA that suits advertisers and "demographics" does not build the game in North America. It's time for MLS to treat its supporters as knowledgeable fans and ditch the NASL-esque antics in favour of a football friendly, yet still North American style.
Perhaps seeing a Garber-christened "knowledgeable" Toronto crowd uninterested and absent for a possible Earthquakes v FC Dallas final with no travelling support may help push the death of the neutral site final. It would be a tiny step in boosting an often anti-climactic championship process.

Monday, November 8, 2010

THE STARTING 11: Jürgen Klinsmann changes to Toronto FC

"One day Rudi, I will create a team in your image"

The German invasion, by way of California, is well underway at BMO Field as Jürgen Klinsmann has taken the task of "advising" Toronto FC of how not to be so crap. The superstar Bavarian is a world renowned football brain with an interestingly eccentric personality to boot which will land in Toronto soon. How much Herr Klinsmann will actually change TFC will depend on what Herr Anselmi and Das ML$E allows him to do but some of his early innovations have been surprising...
11. Fans forced to throw sauerkraut instead of streamers
10. Danny Dichio must play the tuba during all team training sessions
9. Players will be urged to grow Rudi Voller-style 80's afro and moustache
8. 2011 kits to feature red lederhosen
7. "Scotts" turf girls to be replaced by buxom beer hall maidens
6. Dan Gargan to change name to Dieter Gargënheim
5. Less butty... more schnitzel
4. Stadium music to only feature David Hasselhoff and Kraftwerk
3. South End Stand to be renamed "Der Sausage Party"
2. Plans drawn up to annex the Food Building
1. New club name - FC Hoserslautern

Take that, MLS anthem!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Das Falsche Konsültant Journal: Day Ein - What is this Bee Mow?

6:30 AM: Christus! Das Canadians keep calling me to fix their fussball! Herr Anselmi, Chancellor of FC Toronto, is crying that der MLS Cup will be empty if I do not signing up schnell today! I will call later. Now is the time for sleeping.
7:30 AM: Breakfast: Successfully eliminated bratwürst from der plate. Very furious when runny egg attempts to invade sausage region. Morning has become tiresome.
10 AM: Englisch lessons. I am thinking my England speaking is very well. Teddy Sheringham taught me how to say ladies' front-buttocks area in ten different ways in 1995. Teacher says I sound too stern. I ask him to leave my dwelling permanently and with haste.
11 AM: Herr Anselmi is ringing the telefon again. Oh mein Gott! Relax, don't do it man! He sounds very upset. Wants me to go to a Bee Mow? Was ist das Bee Mow? I am thinking a Canadian house of bumblebee torture? I will return call soon. Now is the time for listening to "Kraftwerk: Live in Wuppertal"
12 PM: Have sent agreement of Konsültantcy to FC Toronto. Herr Anselmi wept in joy. I thought he said "das teachers won't kill me now" but I don't speak guten Canadian yet. I ask him if I should sign a new Direktor of Fussball but he just laughed and said "whatever Hans".
1 PM: Lunch: Orchestrate the successful landing of Knackwürst onto München rye. Hunger eliminated. The strudel has angered me and shall be no more.
3 PM: Am watching FC Toronto versus District of Columbia United... what have I done?
3:05 PM: Call Herr Anselmi to resign. He does not pick up telefon. Schiesse!
5 PM: Watched # 1 Hollywood television show “Knight Rider” mit great David Hasselhoffenheim. Stress has been banished. Snuggling with my cat Karl-Heinz.
7 PM: Planning for trip to Toronto, Kanada soon. Want to see der CN Tower, watching the eis hockey cup und mocking Canadian Pilsner. Must fly via Luft Kanada Airlines - much like Lufthansa but severe lack of Black Forest Cake und Lowenbrau. Not cool funky dude!
8 PM: The Dinner: Why must this schnitzel play with my emotions? How dare this sauerkraut even use the word "Bavarian" on der label?! The potato salat is refreshing.
9:30 PM: Googled "FC Toronto 2007-2010". My emotions have become dark like the night.
9:32 PM: Try to call Herr Anselmi to resign. Story already publische in Toronto newspaper. Schiesse!
10 PM: Erotische zeit.
11 PM: This day has become tiresome. Now is the time for sleeping. I am haunted by the image of Canadian bumblebee torture facilities. Karl-Heinz ist ein special creature.
“Das Falsche Konsültant Journal” does not claim to represent the words of any real Germanic person living, dead or miscellaneous. No strudel was harmed in the publication of this falsche Bavarian diary. Danke.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ML$E surrenders to (temporary) German rule

"Ich bin ein Hoser"

Give Toronto FC owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment credit on one front - they know how to make headlines. After a week of rampant rumours, the club officially announced that they have signed Jürgen Klinsmann, as part of his company SoccerSolutions, to the ambiguous role of "advisors" while the club "reorganizes its soccer infrastructure".
The corporate-speak press release gave few details about Herr Klinsmann's actual job description and will disappoint many who expected a fancy jöb title for the former German International superstar as well as a long-term commitment to TFC. Instead, Klinsmann and his team will "work closely” with (suddenly and worryingly titled) Interim Director of Soccer Earl Cochrane and Assistant GM Jim Brennan. Something tells me that will be a one-way conversation.
From a half-empty München beer stein point of view, it is worrying that it isn't a concrete, longer-term role for Klinsmann. In fact, it doesn't sound far different from the brief consultancy he held with LA Galaxy a few years back. The German is unlikely to be too hands-on with 2011 player acquisitions and perhaps gone before any major changes are put into place. It would be very easy for renowned snake oil salesmen ML$E to reap the benefits of the Bavarian PR love-in while slowly allowing Klinsmann's ideas to die a death of a thousand cuts at the board level once he leaves town.
On the other side of the Deutschmark (I know... Euros), the German invasion of BMO Field could be the catalyst for long-term stability at TFC. Klinsmann's vast network in world football could give The Reds the front office its fans deserve with top talent running the show rather than falling to a Cochrane/Brennan combo. Hopefully a mandate to build the club's infrastructure, most notably first rate management, a real scouting network and a deeper technical staff, is the paramount legacy for the advisory role. If TFC comes out of this as a more professional club with Klinsmann as a distant friend to call upon in times of need then it won't just be a PR exercise.
For Jürgen Klinsmann, this presents a no-lose situation. If his undetermined tenure associated with TFC changes the club for the better, he will be hailed by many as a great football mind. If this exercise turns into nothing more than a way to sell MLS Cup tickets with Cochrane/Brennan eventually running the show in 2011, then it will be perceived as yet another meddling ML$E failure and Klinsmann's hands will be clean. For now it will have to be “wait and see” since the details are not forthcoming.
The best analogy for Toronto FC is that of owning a high-end Porsche. ML$E bought the shiny red machine four years ago and drove it at top speed around town. The girls gawked at the car and everyone was happy but ML$E never put any maintenance into it – instead, letting their dumb Scottish friend with no license drive it into the ground. Now, with the wheels falling off and covered in dents they take it to a top German mechanic. He will get the wheels back on and buff the body back to shiny but once he's gone, will ML$E keep checking the oil and get years of top gear out of it? Or, will they let yet more unskilled drivers floor it recklessly until the engine blows for good?

"Don't mention the war... or Nick Garcia!"

Monday, November 1, 2010

"Don't Believe The Hype" - Four years of TFC "star" signings

Robert: "Ne croyez pas le battage publicitaire!"

Often in the world of supporting Toronto FC, criticism arises from some fans that others (this site included) shouldn't get "down" on certain players. It just happens at clubs, where a certain player or players becomes the goat on the terraces when things go south on the field. For a club like TFC, who go south more often than geese, this can happen quickly.
Some of the criticism is misplaced or unfair, often the result of uneducated sectors of the crowd, while at other times it's justified by a player's ineptitude. While both circumstances exist in Toronto, there is a deeper source of this fan fury that is the result of the ownership's behaviour. If there is one thing that ML$E are great at (because it’s not winning trophies) - it's marketing the heck out of a mediocre product and making it sound great.
Unfortunately for some of their on-field (or court or ice) employees, this "turd polishing" can end up biting the player in the rear. Somewhere in the Bay Street marketing department, there is someone who realizes that you can't sell the acquisitions of Wade Belak, Aki Berg, Jamario Moon or Rasho Nesterovic as "talents" so their image is massaged until fans expect them to be "stars". When their naturally inferior talents eventually rise to the surface, the fans take it out on the player in question and start a cycle of negativity.
Sadly, ML$E's policy of buying cheap and marketing hard has not stopped with TFC. Now perhaps things are about to change with the apparently imminent arrival of Jurgen Klinsmann to fix all things Red, but lest we forget the owner’s history as snake oil salesmen - it can always return. With that we look at some of the club's biggest overhyped acquisitions over the years including how they were sold to fans and the reality of who they actually were.
French International star winger famous for his dazzling free kicks and ex-Newcastle United and PSG superstar
THE REALITY: Robert had bounced around four clubs including Levante and Derby County since 2006 only managing 3 goals in that time before sulking out of each club under a dark cloud
IN RED: 17 surly matches with TFC with 1 free kick goal before miserably whining his way out of town
An established and versatile defensive force with international experience coming off six strong seasons with Birmingham City
THE REALITY: An injury prone and broken player who hadn't made a first team appearance with Brum since 2006 and suffered from crushing homesickness
IN RED: After waiting on Tebily for months to heal from injury, the Cote D'Ivoir defender played in 4 matches with TFC before deciding he wanted to go home to his family - hasn't played pro football since
An exciting England U-21 star who played for giants Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur and will cure TFC's winger problem
THE REALITY: A classic "should've been" star -hyped since a young age and doted upon by names like Glenn Hoddle. The naturally gifted Ricketts bought into his own hype and burned bridges with the many clubs he had short stays with since being cut from Spurs in 2005
IN RED: Did what he did at all former clubs - started very well and used his affable personality to win fans over before eventually infuriating them with his increasingly mediocre work ethic before burning bridges on the way out
A big strong Trinidadian striker with Gold Cup experience and years spent with top Scottish clubs
THE REALITY: A very big striker who never met a pie he didn't like. Had spent the previous five years spilt between Scottish "powers" Falkirk and Dundee United where he managed a paltry 26 goals in 148 appearances
IN RED: May or may not be responsible for the "Great Chip Butty Famine" of 2007. The portly forward was always a step too slow in MLS and his 3 goals in 19 appearances proved as much
A young rising star in Argentina coming to Toronto on loan from Independiente as he rockets to international fame
THE REALITY: A fringe youth player at Independiente who Mo Johnston signed on the strength of a friendly appearance. Had been on an unsuccessful loan in the Ukrainian 2nd Division before moving to The Reds
IN RED: Was always missing one component of a good game during 26 expensive appearances where he managed a disappointing 2 goals. However, has proven critics wrong in 2010 with 9 goals in 18 matches with new club Universidad San Martin
: An industrious Croatian-Argentine who has played across Europe and South America and will replace the reliable Carl Robinson
THE REALITY: The Croatian-Argentine Kevin Harmse who never played in a real top tier league. His career best year was spent in the Romanian 2nd Division and also bounced around the lower tiers of Croatia, Slovenia, Argentina and Israel
IN RED: 18 matches worth of referee-baiting challenges in 2010 but did score one nice goal against Cruz Azul in the CCL. Whether he returns in 2011 will depend on the quality of GM hired

The second Designated player in TFC history. The one-time Spanish International who scored 40 goals with Valencia and also played for big clubs like Deportivo La Coruna and Atletico Madrid and the answer to TFC's offensive woes
THE REALITY: An injury ravaged striker whose best years were half a decade ago but whose ego would never allow him to admit such a thing. Without a team interested in Spain, expected to come to MLS for an easy time in an inferior league
IN RED: Mo Johnston's final, and most expensive, player acquisition bust. A big payday (in MLS terms) to play in 9 matches without managing a single league goal. Sulked through the last two months of the season and fell to a long line of “mystery injuries” - at least helped push the dismissal of Mo Johnston through