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Winter suggests further changes for TFC in offseason

Aron Winter says he knows what he wants to do for next season, but he isn’t ready to reveal his plans just yet.

Toronto FC’s head coach and technical director says there is still more work to be done, despite Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over FC Dallas in the CONCACAF Champions League. 

“Of course, we are still not there,” Winter said. “Next season is going to be very important for us. We’re going to start in the preseason from the beginning with the roster that we want with the whole program and all the preseason, and all those things. It could be a nice season next year.”

Toronto FC have yet to reach the playoffs in their five years in Major League Soccer, a fact their rabid fanbase knows all too well. But in Winter’s first season, the improvement has been obvious, as he rebuilt the team with director of player development Paul Mariner during the season.

That development under Winter and Mariner took a dramatic step forward when the Reds dominated FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park to finish second in Group C of with 10 points, and earn the first-ever CCL quarterfinal berth in franchise history.

They’ll learn their CCL fate later this year, but this much they know: There’s plenty to play for in March.

“Now you’re happy and March is far away, but we have Saturday another game against New England and we want to finish the season very well,” Winter said. “You can celebrate and enjoy it, but it’s important to finish your last game at home well.”

Both teams in Saturday’s season finale at BMO Field will miss the playoffs. After that game, the work for next season can begin.

“Then you’ve got plenty of time to be focused and to get your roster and all those things [in place] for next season when we’re going to start in January,” Winter said. “For next season, I’ve got all the plans ready in my head, together with Bob [de Klerk, first assistant coach]. We’re going to work on it next week.”