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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

TFC's Totally total Total Football tally

That's the last time Dan Gargan uses Amazon

After two matches into Aron Winter's "Total Football" revolution, there has been much talk amongst media and supporters over what players fit into the new system. While only Winter and his staff fully know what they are looking for, and watch the players day in and day out, the template of the "Total Torontonian" footballer is becoming clearer.

To excel in the 4-3-3 Ajax-influenced style, Reds players need to be technically sound, comfortable in possession, able to keep the ball on the deck and have the football prowess to be constantly re-positioning themselves on the pitch. It will be a hard, long-term adjustment for some players while others will welcome the freedom to play attractively after a year in Preki's "anti-football" boot camp. We take a look at a few of The Reds and how totally total they seem so far...

TOTALLY READY...The players who have been relishing the chance to show their skills and will likely flourish in the Torontotal system:
- JULIAN DE GUZMAN: Preki's system usually saw the ball flying over JDG's head, giving many the feeling that the Scarborough native was a bust. His skills are for real though and he should shine as the anchor of the new system
- DWAYNE DE ROSARIO: The captain will have to learn not to be a one-man-gang but his ability to push the team forward will be key to TFC attacks
- JAVIER MARTINA: His two-goal home-debut aside, the young Curacao-native has a leg-up simply due to his years spent learning the system in the Ajax Academy
- ALEN STEVANOVIC: It may be a bit early to tell but there is no replacing naturally gifted technical skills which the Swiss-Serb has. Will have to cut-down on fancy footwork and concentrate on the play in the hard-nosed MLS

TOTALLY WORTHY... These lads have got the chops to have a solid future under Winter & Co. but need to polish the skills first:
- NANA ATTAKORA: Could become the necessary CB rock that the 4-3-3 requires but needs to learn to walk the ball out of the back and find the pass as opposed to clearing deep
- MIKAEL YOURASSOWSKY: Has the strength and speed on the wing but will have to tame his rambunctious fouls and yappy Belgian mouth if he wants to stop hurting the team. The Belgians, geez.
- JACOB PETERSON: Still a Preki remnant on the outside looking in, Peterson has the skills to be a bridge between MLS and Torontotal Football. Needs to show a keener eye for the deadly ball and be less timid going at goal
- MAICON SANTOS: For a Brazilian, Maicon can look very un-Samba-like at times. However, as a very North American target man type, he seems to be finding his groove. Regular play may give him the clinical finishing the club needs

TOTALLY RIGID... Not everyone was going to grasp such a football-savvy system right away. These players have struggled early and need to improve
- DAN GARGAN: While admired for his great work ethic, Gargan may just lack the technical gifts for Winter's style. When depth arrives he will likely be relegated to the bench where his late-game energy could be helpful
- TY HARDEN: Getting minutes due to injuries and lack of depth, Harden is a very one-dimensional defender who while solid at shot-blocking does not look comfortable moving the ball out of the back. Days in Toronto likely limited
- NATHAN STURGIS: The strange signing of interim GM Earl Cochrane has done little to show his worth so far at TFC. Has started both matches but has also been subbed quickly. Looks doomed to the bench or the transfer market
- ADRIAN CANN: This will no doubt ruffle some feathers but the affable defender will have to really step up his game to fit in to Winter's system. A long-ball clearance specialist by nature, Cann has to improve his dribbling and awareness on the ball to match his quality blocking

TOTALLY GOT AWAY... Just a few what-if's to end things. Four former Reds who sure would have looked good in this system... thanks Mo/ Preki:
- CARL ROBINSON: Even as depth, the solid DM with his smart positioning, spray passing and leadership would have been an asset
- CHAD BARRETT: Take away his grossly bloated wages and The Chad's runs would have been useful in a forward-wing position. But, at no more than $120K
- AMADO GUEVARA: Run out of town by crooked Sheriff Preki, El Lobo's creative footwork, spot kick prowess and agility would have been very interesting
- MARVELL WYNNE: A big, very fast and physical wingback with the adaptability to play in the middle? Winter must kick the ghost of Preki in his sleep


  1. Still miss Robbo - class guy, really solid holding mid (and how we've missed that!) and team leader - fantastic leader on the field as well. Great assessment otherwise - although Peterson as Worthy? We'll see.

  2. If DeGuzman doesn't prove to be a key component once he gets healthy, what excuses will we hear from his supporters this year?