TORONTO – If there has been one thing that has been a mainstay through Toronto FC’s six-and-a-half seasons in Major League Soccer, it has been the massive player turnover that has taken place under a number of different head coaches.
Given that Toronto FC has again experienced quite a bit of change with respect to players coming and going this year, Reds supporters could be forgiven for assuming that the club’s roster practices have not changed significantly under coach Ryan Nelsen and president and general manager Kevin Payne.
According to Nelsen, nothing could be further from the truth.
With TFC struggling to put the ball in the back of the opposition net over the last several weeks, the Reds gaffer was asked on Tuesday if he was feeling any urgency with respect to bringing in the new offensive players that the Toronto brass have been hinting at recently.
“We’re not going to push any panic buttons over one or two weeks,” Nelsen told reporters following TFC’s training session on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, guys who can put the ball in the net don’t grow on trees. You can go out there and take a risk on certain players, but that is what has happened here in the past."
With Toronto having cleared significant cap room in recent weeks via the jettisoning of players such as Darren O’Dea, Terry Dunfield, Danny Califf and Luis Silva, TFC have been linked to a number of big names as well as talented young players from South America who are in a similar mold to Young Designated Player Matías Laba. However, nothing concrete has come to fruition as of yet.
Even with many TFC supporters likely getting restless at the fact that the club has not announced any significant new acquisitions over the last couple of weeks, Nelsen was quick to reinforce that Toronto won’t be making any rash moves due to the club’s current six-game winless streak.
“I know there’s an urgency but we have to do it right,” Nelsen stated. “We have to get the exact right person on the right terms. If it’s not best for the club for the short- and long-term future, then we’re just reliving the past. I will take all the criticism, but I have to look at the bigger picture and look at next season and the years beyond.
“I want to put a foundation in place at Toronto where it’s not just for the next three months, but for the next three years that we’ll have a team that we won’t have to change much,” Nelsen added. “Once it’s done right, we won’t have to bring in replacement after replacement after replacement. That’s what has been happening here for the past seven years.”
While Toronto have only acquired one player this month in the form of defender Mark Bloom via a loan deal with NASL club Atlanta Silverbacks, Nelsen did stress that he is confident that his team will be able to reinforce with the right players before the summer transfer window closes.
“Everybody is trying their hardest to get it done,” he said. “I think there will be a few announcements in the next couple of days. Hopefully we’ll get it over the line as soon as possible. We’ve done our due diligence and we’ve got the guys lined up. If they fall away, we’ve got replacements lined up as well.”