Archive for October, 2009
Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
By: David Alter
It was a mutual parting of the ways for TFC and Chris Cummins.
The Reds elected to go on a search for a new coach, and for Cummins, the plan to return home to the U.K. if Toronto FC made the playoffs or not.
“I honoured my contract and I nearly lost my wife for it because she kept telling me to come home” says Cummins.
The inability to get visas for his wife and kids to work in Canada was what ultimately led to his need to go back home.
New Coach Will Not Pick Assistants
Manager and Director of Soccer Mo Johnston says the new Head Coach of TFC will have to inherit all of the assistants on board.
Typically, coaches like to bring in their own staff but Johnston is looking to end that trend.
“Some young coaches don’t get coaching again and I think that’s wrong” says Johnston.
“We think in developing, and I think when you have younger coaches you don’t just bag them.”
Johnston says the new coach must have MLS coaching experience, but that combined with the lack of autonomy for his assistants could be a very hard sell.
Potential for MLS Labour Strike
The current collective bargaining agreement expires on January 31st 2010. The players want guaranteed contracts.
The way it is right now, MLS teams can release any player at any point of the season until July.
Players would like guaranteed contracts as well as some better travel arrangements.
“We’ve told our players to hope for the best, but to prepare for the worst” says member of the board Nick Garcia.
Tuesday, October 27th, 2009
As reported on The Fan590 this past weekend, Chris Cummins will not be back as head coach of TFC next season. Nor will he remain as an assistant on a new staff.
Having traveled with the team this MLS season I saw Chris at work pretty often and I also saw him once or twice in a social setting. Chris Cummins is a good man, and a person you cheer for. During pre game sit downs with the media Chris was very forthcoming with his plan of attack for any given day. he lent his trust to myself and others in the media, and I thank him for that.
There is a mentality with soccer folks from overseas when it comes to the media. It comes I am told from what happens “back home” for the UK folk who come here to Canada to ply their trade. The media around soccer here in Canada (mainstream) is not as John Carver or perhaps even Chris feared at times. Most of us just want the truth about what is going on with the club on any given day, and relay that to the fans.
I mentioned in yesterdays blog that the real strength of Chris Cummins was his ability to coach younger players into the mix. What Cummins lacked to get this team into the playoffs was not soccer know how, but depth of bench and players available to call upon.
Those players who thought Chris was a nice guy to, may be in for a rude awakening when GM Mo Johnston brings in the next boss. This is a huge hire for Johnston. New contract or not for the Reds GM. If the next coach fails to get this team to the playoffs next season, or is fired because he argues too much with referees, or quits the team because he can’t handle the way MLS is run, Johnston’s turn should be next.
Mo has brought good young players in. Mo has Dwayne DeRosario in fold, good depth in goal and some young defenders and midfielder Sam Cronin. Now it is time to stop messing around with the coaching staff and settle on one man, leave him alone, and let him move this team forward.
Good luck Chris.
Monday, October 26th, 2009
What a crazy night it was. The weekend on the whole was kind of surreal. The flight to Newark from the Island Airport in Toronto was delayed not once but twice. At one point in the heavy winds, we were called to quickly board the plane as there was only a short window for take off. Looking back it sounds now eerily like TFC’s playoff chances. A short window for take off, otherwise no chance to get off the ground. Low and behold in Jersey and Giants stadium, a quick goal sinks the Reds playoff hopes, and was all the Red Bulls would need to send TFC home Sunday for the rest of the season.
Back to the airport, some had boarded the plane, I and others were in sight of the Jet when we were told to turn back and go to the lounge to wait for another call. We were told in Toronto Newark airport was shut down for arriving flights. In Newark we were told this was not true, that the plane could have landed easily in swamp land USA. Again, sounds like a mirror for what TFC have gone through on some levels this year. Told one thing, and hear the opposite to be true for someone else you think should give your the honest answer.
Whatever happened between the players on that rain soaked pitch Saturday at the famed soccer and NFL stadium is between those men who wore a TFC jersey or staff strip that evening. What I, and you can do from afar is say we saw a “Manhattan Meltdown”.
Terrible defencive play, lack of quality up front, save for a few good balls into the box and some great saves by Coundoul in net for NY in the opening half.
It is evident to me some of the players don’t seem heartbroken about the loss. Don’t mistake that for all the players and don’t mistake that for disappointed. I am certain all players were disappointed they were handed such a terrible defeat, but they should be heartbroken right now, crushed, devastated. I don’t get that feeling, and that is whats lacking with this side.
In my mind this team needs the obvious when it comes to position players, but more than that GM Mo Johnston needs to find character players, leaders, someone who won’t let defeat rest so lightly on their shoulders, or their minds.
There is a lot of good going forward with TFC. Chris Cummins I think did a good job making sure younger players got into the line up when possible. Chris’s decisions over the course of a year he never asked for nor anticipated can be food for discussion over many a pints and wings at your favorite soccer social club. What you can not question about Chris Cummins is his skill set at seeing talent in young players and bringing them along. Nanna and Gomez in the back, Cronin in the midfield and White up front, Frie and Edwards in goal. Chris did not bring those players in to TFC’s fold but he did the best he could to bring them along, all the while knowing he had only a few players at his disposal to help him in that end.
There seems to be a divide on this team at the moment. Too many whispers amongst teammates, and not enough togetherness to bring out the strengths of each, without sacrificing for the good of the team. Individuals rule the roost right now, and I don’t think intentionally. Even those who don’t intend to be their own mirror rather than the teams on any given night, need better leaders around them to help them lead a team to the playoffs.
The fate TFC suffered on that thunder-storming new jersey night i guess was fitting. This group of players should not have been honored with a playoff privilege just yet. If all is well going forward with TFC, this loss should leave a lasting emotional scar on this club. A scar that will drive them to be better next season and not accept defeat as something that happens, rather something you allowed as a group to be possible.
Thursday, October 15th, 2009
Toronto FC’s starting keeper Stefan Frei will miss his second straight game when TFC close out there home schedule on Saturday home to Real Salt Lake. Frei initially injured the finger during a game in Chicago a few months ago and re-aggravated the injury during a training session last week. Brian Edwards will make his second straight start in net after a relatively quiet but effective game, in the 1-1 draw against San Jose.
Defender Marvell Wynne returned to training on Thursday, still recovering from a thigh strain, but manager Chris Cummins wasn’t too optimistic when asked if Wynne would return to the lineup against Salt Lake. If that’s the case, then perhaps Adrian Serioux stays on at right-back or Cummins has enough with Nick Garcia, moves Serioux to the middle of defense and drops Sam Cronin to right-back. It’s a theory that Cummins should give some serious thought.
Meanwhile, Amado Guevara helped Hondruas qualify for the World Cup earlier in the week and will most likely return to Toronto by Friday. I get the sense from Cummins that he’ll put Guevara in the starting XI, even if his fitness level isn’t where the coaching staff would like it to be. With 2 games left and 6 points needed, you need to field the strongest team possible and although Guevara has gone missing from time to time in the second half of the season, he has to be involved in Saturday’s game.
Obviously, a big talking point this season for TFC has been there huge problem of giving up late goals. After today’s training session, I asked Cummins and a few players what it will take to avoid another late-game collapse and the interesting thing was that everyone had a different way of approaching the question. Cummins talked about managing games, O’Brian White talked about being more intense, Marvell Wynne referred to last week’s collapse as the team being nervous while Sam Cronin talked about the mental issue of hanging on to a one-goal lead.
It’s clear that there isn’t one issue that has to be addressed in order for the team to play a full 90 minutes, but a collective, team effort will be needed, if TFC want to beat Real Salt Lake on Saturday, one of five teams who are vying for the final playoff spot.
Don’t forget, The FAN 590 will carry Saturday’s must-win against Salt Lake, beginning live at 3:30pm with the pregame show. Kickoff at BMO Field will take place shortly after 4:00pm.
– Alex Seixeiro
Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
In hindsight it is easy to say “you could see it coming”. If you have followed TFC at all this season though, consider yourself licensed to say so.
Once again TFC played just well enough at home to take a one goal lead into the latter stages of an MLS game, and a must win. Once again the lack of killer instinct or soccer smarts have contributed to the ongoing frustrations of this group of players and management.
TFC is still alive but the rope to which the club clings to is looking more like strained dental floss than anything considered strong enough to pull a team into the next season.
Whoever’s job it is to have this team ready to play smart, keep-away, or defencive minded soccer best be looking for work about now. This group is one of a few things. Not prepared, coddled, or just not good enough to have jobs in this league much longer. Aside from Nanna Attakora, who played very well and gets a pass on any mistakes this season due to youth and inexperience (not many mistakes mind you).
I have never seen a team so destined to find a way to let points slip away from them than this group this season. There are some very hard working players in the mix with TFC. There are some players who frankly I don’t know if they care enough if they win or loose.
You watch the replay of the tieing goal scored by San Jose. You count the players watching the ball and or walking back into the 18 yard box. Are you kidding me!!!!?
Up by a goal in extra time, the play is in your end of the field, remind me again why you are watching players get open in-front of you.
A player completely committed to the cause of making the post season with TFC would not be walking, or watching what happened.
Thursday, October 8th, 2009
Toronto FC will be missing some key pieces for Saturday’s must-win at home against San Jose.
First off, midfielder Carl Robinson is done for the rest of the season with a fractured collarbone. Robinson collided with a perhaps too ambitious trialist from the Ivory Coast during Tuesday’s practice and has an indentation in the side of his face. There are three young men from the Ivory Coast on trial with Toronto FC still battling for a playoff spot and you’d have to think this isn’t an ideal time to bring unknown players into the squad with three games left to go. Coach Chris Cummins kept the kid out of today’s training session, for the sheer fact that he didn’t want another important player getting hurt. Carl is said to be upset and who can blame him. He underwent successful surgery this morning and is expected to be out of action for 8-10 weeks.
Goalkeeper Stefan Frei dislocated his finger during Monday’s practice and didn’t train with the team today for precautionary reasons. It’ll be a massive blow if he can’t suit up for the weekend. Defender Marvell Wynne will miss the clash on Saturday with a tweaked groin, while Adrian Serioux is set to make his return to the lineup after missing some time with a neck injury. TFC will also be without Amado Guevara, who’s with the Honduran national team that’s trying to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.
It’s a dangerous fixture for TFC when you consider that yes, San Jose did play mid-week in a loss to FC Dallas that officially eliminated them from playoff contention, but more often that not, teams that have nothing to play for can be more difficult to beat.
You can hear Saturday’s game against San Jose on The FAN 590 beginning at 3:30pm with Dan Dunleavy and Bob Iarusci.
– Alex Seixeiro
Monday, October 5th, 2009
By: David Alter
With the week off, a majority of Toronto FC players spent their weekends watching other games around MLS hoping they wouldn’t lose too much ground.
Some favourable results saw the reds sit only three points out of a spot, with three games to go.
The situation left captain Jim Brennan confident in standing behind his guarantee of post-season footy, despite a late collapse against Chicago last week which appeared to spell doom.
“It seems every week something happens where you’re still in it” says Brennan. “Most times teams will pull away from you, but even with that weekend off there, things look good for us and we’re still in it.”
Head Coach Chris Cummins says despite the results , his team has to play better particularly in the late stages of games.
The previous game late lead collapse against Chicago can’t be forgotten.
“We need to be more consistent we’re aware of that” says Cummins. “If we stop conceding the late goals then I’m sure we’re going to make the playoffs. But we have to do that otherwise we’re not going to make the playoffs.”
The Reds will be without Amado Guevara this week who will be away on world cup duty. Marvell Wynne has a lingering thigh strain, and GK Stephan Frei “tweaked a finger” according to Cummins. Frei is expected to be back on the pitch tomorrow. Wynne is day to day.