Toronto FC: An international disappointment
October 13, 2014
Around this time last year, Toronto FC (TFC) was looking to rejuvenate from its lacklustre performances, dating all the way back to its first ever season in Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2006. Following the examples set by the numerous other Toronto teams such as the Maple Leafs and the Raptors, TFC has exceeded all expectations in failure. Ironically, all three of these distasteful teams are owned by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE). In a more recent context, the Leafs and Raptors were able to make the playoffs in 2013 and 2014 for the first time after the 2005 and 2007 seasons, respectively. TFC, on the other hand, is yet to see its first playoff appearance.
Both the Leafs and Raptors were able to bring out the best in the players they had in order to become somewhat victorious. MLSE decided to go with a different approach for TFC. Much like the massive off-season trades witnessed by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2012 off-season, TFC went through an off-season hyped with tremendous trades. Similarly to the Blue Jays, they also happened to bomb beyond all expectations and send fans back home, week after week, full of resentment.
When TFC acquired Jermaine Defoe from the Tottenham Hotspurs, it was “a bloody big deal”, as all the television ads had put it. Acquiring TFC’s all-time leading scorer, Dwayne de Rosario, only added to the elevating expectations for this Toronto team. Adding Michael Bradley from A.S. Roma and loaning Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Caesar from Queen’s Park Rangers, seemed to be the icing on the cake.
Unfortunately, TFC did not have a Cinderella story where the fairy godmother (MLSE) was able to transform a rugged team into a beautiful success story over one off-season. TFC continued to struggle as their roster was overfilled with suspended players sprinkled throughout the season. As of now, TFC sits in sixth place, one place away from playoff contention and a whole six points away. So, unless Columbus Crew miraculously loses their remaining two matches and TFC achieves what will be called the greatest miracle in sports history by winning their next two matches (with a substantial goal difference), fans will have to hold onto their TFC merchandise for another season, in hopes of raising it
high and proud in a future playoff match.