After a 2-0 loss in Houston, Toronto FC Head Coach Aaron Winter promised change. Winter told me he had seen enough of the group assembled quickly after he arrival in January of 2011, and was ready to start the overhaul. He was not kidding. If anything else, Aaron Winter is a man of his word, as is his Associate Coach Bob de Klerk. These two men, along with Director of Player Development, Paul Mariner, knew the changes were necessary, what they did not know was exactly when they would have to pull the trigger on the true rebuild this franchise has so desperately needed. That time is now.
Five new players made their debut in a 1-0 loss to FC Dallas at BMO field on Wednesday July 20th of 2011. Only one in my mind had a true impact on the game for Toronto. Designated player and German International Torsten Frings was a man who showed he wanted the ball, and wanted to have an impact on the game. In fairness to the other newcomers, one game is not a fair judging time frame for any man who takes the field with a new team. Let alone when you have four others on the field with you who are also making their club debut. Time must and will be given to these men to find their way.
Ryan Johnson needs to impact games as an attacking player. Johnson’s goal production has soured a little since his great season with San Jose in 2009. Danny Koevermans is a bit of an unknown to us here in Canada. That aside, the big target man must equal the chances produced by the outgoing Alan Gordon in my opinion, in order for TFC to consider these moves a step forward. Maicon Santos returned from injury and should have had the games tieing goal in the later minutes. The big Brazilian missed an open header wide after working his way onto the end of a Nick Soolsma cross at the edge of the six yard box.
Big sturdy defender Andy Iro looked to me to be out of sorts at times in his TFC debut, while in other moments he was smashing through the ball with strong header clearings off the back line. Iro will be a stable part of Toronto’s back line when all the starters are along side him. The minute you ask a defender to do more than he is capable of, he can look lost and confused. TerryDunfield did not play against Dallas and Toronto was without hard working defender Richard Eckersley due to yellow card accumulation. Both players will go a long way to steadying the back line along with Andy.
The new look Reds hit the road for KC and a Saturday night match that is surely to be played in more stifling heat. That game can be heard live on Sportsnet Radio The FAN590 at www.FAN590.com at 8:30 eastern.