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Saturday 28 April 2012

Some Miscellaneous Thoughts on the Latest Troubles Surrounding Toronto FC - Part II

Second part of three discussing some of the current trouble swirling around Toronto FC; for the first click here.

On the rift between players and managers – The frustration from all parties as a result of this start is palpable and one thing to keep in mind is that this is a group of alpha males. In such a dynamic, feathers will be ruffled and the words that emerge from the situation will often not be representative of what is actually going on.

    Milos Kocic, who made some comments to the effect of “It’s not the players, it’s the tactics” is probably angry at himself for losing and allowing goals – keepers can be a bit tetchy about getting beat; post-match that emotion came out in the form of a snipe. Against Chicago, Kocic followed the coach’s instructions to the letter, not taking heed of the incoming pressure, and rolled an unadvised ball out to Frings who was under too much pressure from the alert front pairing; his culpability for not making the right decision at that time and putting his teammate in trouble can manifest itself in the wrong way.

    de Guzman’s frustration must be reaching incalculable levels. He cannot have ever expected to come home and become the whipping boy for the frustrations of an exhausted fan base. In Spain, he was a Canadian on a decent team; aside from the acknowledgement he got for strong contributions on the pitch, there could not have been much that was asked of him off the pitch.

    Television and papers would not have come to him for post-match quotes or explanations of what was ailing the team when they lost. His manager or the senior Spanish players would have shouldered those responsibilities, leaving Julian to keep his head down, get on with his job, and perform.

    That lack of distraction surely assisted him in saving all his energy and focus for the match; something that has been lacking since he returned here to be burdened with interviews, questions, disappointments and blame.

On the rift between ownership – Much as with the players, the front office must be extremely frustrated with how things have turned out.

    Having seen Paul Mariner and Thomas Rongen taking in the reserve match against Columbus, one cannot help but wonder if part of Rongen’s role was to quell any disagreements between the two feuding visions of the club. He has a firm foot planted in each camp, having been brought up in the Dutch style, then living with the North American one for so many years. Perhaps his role was not intended to include such bridge-building, but it is a task he can perform.

    The one thing that must be remembered amongst all this supposed turmoil is that winning cures all ails; any ideological splits will have been exacerbated by the losing, and will be calmed with a few wins.

On the passion in the stands contributing to the frustrated atmosphere – This is a tense situation for all involved and the lethargy in the stands cannot be helpful.

    One cannot help but think that were it not for so many of these matches having been at home in the dreary weather of early spring, results would have been different.

    The lack of energy in the building, particularly for lunchtime fixtures, is a factor. BMO Field between noon and 5 pm can be a quiet place and that silence compounds the disappointment that a player feels when he makes a mistake or misses a chance.

    The role of the fans is to spur their players on; to be proactive, not reactive. CONCACAF aside, the only time the fans have been in full voice for this season was after TFC took the lead over Chicago last Saturday, and that only lasted ninety seconds or so. Giving up a goal after taking the lead, conceding minutes before halftime always hurts, but if it also robs the team of their support, it is doubly cruel.

    To call out the fans that have long supported the side would be unfair; this is to remind that sometimes the nature of support is to overlook the mistake and the results. Separate the player from the error, the club from the results, and the organization that takes the money from the team that needs the support; as the song goes “We’re all in this together”.

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