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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The next cut ain't the deepest

The one constant at Toronto FC has always been change. Life under our new Kiwi Overlord has not altered that human resources workload. With rumours abound of up to four new potential signings joining our springtime tundra, more change is on the horizon.
MLS rosters have their limits of course, both in capacity and economical, so if new recruits are truly on their way then the football boot must drop for some current Reds. With the mystery Argentine striker (the not mysterious Maximiliano Urruti) seemingly waiting at Buenos Aires airport, the machinations of transactions are creaking to life. Yesterday, the first bit of space management was implemented with TFC Academy grad Matt Stinson given his release - but that won't be enough.

Ryan Nelsen is clear that TFC will be a different looking squad over the next few months and that will have to mean pink slips to more than just Matt Stinson. But who else will be getting the not-so-golden handshake? Assuming that the professionals signed since Kevin Payne took control as President are safe(ish) - who may face the snip?
The former Puerto Rico Islander arrived with the whiff of emergency signing but did clock some minutes in 2012. On that mess of a squad, that doesn't say too much. A low salary at a fairly young age could save him but as far as potential goes - we have probably seen all that he is capable of.

Possibly the most looked-to as far as potential cuts go. Despite a low salary he does seem to be the "1 in 6 player" that Paul Mariner frustratingly claimed he was. Has looked "okayish" early this season but yet to develop into any kind of consistent MLS player. Worse for Lambe is the big international roster spot dangling around his neck.
"But I just got here!" Yes, probably a bit early and unfair to judge Braun but if attacking options are on TFC's shopping list then Braun may be the odd man out. His goal tally over the last few seasons is most likely to be found on the side of a milk carton but there may be a little bit of trade potential in the ex-Chivas striker. Could be ballast for Payne to pick up another team's international roster spot.
The three youngsters impressed enough in training camp to secure a pro deal but they will only hang on if TFC feels they have enough potential to warrant development at the price of a roster spot. On miniscule salaries, their departures won't help the wage bill but would be purely to make space. Variables such as Taylor Morgan's international roster (or not) classification could be a variable.
A short moment of pity to the youngster who was given the no-doubt unwanted anchor of "Modern Era etc. etc." in one of Paul Mariner's least cogent brain releases. Every time the attacking mid takes a (often wanting) shot on goal those words can be heard echoing around BMO Field like the Ghost of Ipswich Past. Pity aside, Wiedeman has yet to show his value and with his Generation Adidas shield gone, a future in Toronto seems unlikely. Whether another MLS GM can be tempted to mine what Mariner thought he saw remains to be seen.
Yes we know. Highly unlikely as the league's "Drop a DP" deadline has long passed - but weirder things have happened. While it is true that Koef is arguably the club's finest striker in its history, he is also on a very hefty (stop it) contract and is extremely injury-prone. Will the Dutchman be able to return to anything resembling a high-powered striker? Does he fit into Ryan Nelsen's tactical style? And... if fit... would a 35-year-old Koef re-sign with TFC in 2014 as a non-DP? These are questions that will determine his future in maple leaf red.
The positive of keeping Jeremy Hall in a TFC kit is that he can play five positions on the pitch. The negative is how he plays those five positions. Hall would be a useful tool on your bench if it wasn't for his nasty habit of making Reds supporters smack their heads really, really hard at least once per match. A player like Hall could still garner a wee bit of interest on the MLS trade market but not if you want a useful player in return. Has Hall's early season usage in the starting eleven been a sign of interest by Ryan Nelsen or just a lack of options?
Ok - when you throw things at your screen it only hurts your computer - not our site. Calm down. While Terry Dunfield has done well with the gifts that Football Jesus has given him, he is not more than bench strength on any quality MLS side. If he wasn't Canadian, he wouldn't be held in such high regard here. But, it is those intangibles - a Canuck, a really good citizen and with seemingly good leadership skills - that will likely save his job. Not to mention avoiding the PR nightmare that would follow. Now take a deep breath Terrymaniacs - it's not personal.
While who stays and who goes will be dictated by who comes in and the positions they play, chances are that one or more of the above are not long for Hogtown. Who do you think is due (or would you like - vengeful buggers) to depart BMO Field? Add your voice to the discussion in the comments below. Or you're cut.
And, if it is you Danny or Terry... we promise to sing this once at BMO Field...


  1. The annual tradition that is the 'wringing of the roster' is still in full swing. DP, international slot, rookie contract or not, if the dropping of one and signing of the other improves the side, I'm all for it.

    TFC is not in a position to secure talent for the future. A good season and a post-season run will move them into that neighbourhood, but until then, future = now.

    Koefs I'd be hard pressed to see be weaseled out of here, even if the club could. The kids need an opportunity to prove themselves, which I understand, but cutting them outright seems silly when you can just loan them out to NASL/USL sides just so they can get some minutes and experience.

    I have an order in my mind of worst to least worst with the names above, but with the exception of Koef, all of those names are expendable. Dunfield can still contribute, but not in this system. He looked lost and antiquated in the KC and Montreal matches. Not a lack of skill, but direction.

  2. Montreal is 4-0. We are not. That is the sad part.

  3. All these guys can go. Bostock will probably go after June 30, same for Ephraim. I think as the season progresses fans will find that Bekker, despite his positives, has a limited ceiling in his development: he just doesn't look to be a quick enough athlete. I like Osorio, but Welshman might be simply a political pick who might not pan out. Suffice to say, the roster turnover will continue under Payne as it did under Mo, Winter, and Mariner. The least stable franchise in MLS history, and also it's least successful.