How’d 2013 Treat ‘Em: 6-17-11 (W-L-T), 30 gf, 47 ga; 9th in the West (y’know, the usual)
Sure, DC had a shitty year, but no one – I mean, no one – beats tops Toronto when it comes to fucking up consistently, season in, season out, and at finding novel ways to fuck up. The poster boys for shitty teams, a live, longitudinal study in just how loyal sports fans can be, an answer to the question of whether pulling on a certain shirt can take a good player and make him bad: this is Toronto’s history. In a word, brutal. I don’t even think they bothered with flattering to deceive last season…hmm….why don’t you just take your meds, dears, and have a lie-down.
Exciting Additions! – Jackson, Gilberto, Justin Morrow, Jermaine Defoe, Michael Bradley
Tricky Departures… – Bobby Earnshaw, Stefan Frei, Richard Eckersley, Matias Laba
Quality Parts: Joe Bendik, Bradley, Defoe, Jackson, Justin Morrow
It Gets Better If They Come Good: Kyle Bekker, Dwayne DeRosario, Jeremy Hall, Doneil Henry, Ashtone Morgan, Giberto, Alvaro Rey
What I’d Expect Based on the Above:
Toronto had the highest-profile off-season, no question, and that drew positive interest, super-positive some of it. People haven’t babbled this long or loudly about new players since last summer’s weird Clint Dempsey unveiling. Yes, Bradley coming back IS a big deal; Defoe coming over IS a big deal. Toronto added some decent known knowns as well – Jackson and Morrow, mainly – and it all looks pretty well conceived on paper, at least so far as it goes. And it definitely says something when the transfer of a league legend like DeRosario can reasonably go unmentioned. The trick for Toronto, however, is finding the escape velocity from SUCK, from year after year of losing tradition. This will involve fitting the flashy bits with the ones still covered in rust from the previous regime(s). And more than a few people wonder, rather impolitely at that, whether Ryan Nelsen is the right coach for the job. I’m guessing it will take very little time, perhaps an unfair amount of time, for this question to be answered. Resisting the temptation to “pull a TFC” and just REACT to a bad run strikes me as the biggest threat to righting Toronto’s big picture problems. If they make the playoffs this year, that’s great – it’s also something of a minimum requirement given the resources expended. But everything this team does should follow the bigger project of building a solid foundation for the club’s future. It’s a shame to waste what is truly a huge amount of potential.
2014 Season Opener: @ Seattle, March 15