TORONTO – As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Amid a winless streak that stretched to nine games with their 1-0 loss to Columbus on Saturday night, the decision by the Toronto FC brass to bring in three new players over the past week spoke volumes about their dissatisfaction with the manner in which their squad had been competing this season.
Newcomers Steven Caldwell, Jeremy Brockie and Bobby Convey all made their first appearances in a Toronto FC kit on Saturday, and recently acquired Designated Player Matías Laba played his first match at BMO Field. Unfortunately for TFC supporters, the end result was pretty much the same, despite a vastly different cast.
“Obviously, we have come out the wrong end of it again,” said TFC captain Darren O’Dea, who has just one solitary win to his credit since joining the club last August. “It seems like it was like a lot of games this season where we could have won the game. We play better than teams but do not come out on the right side of the score line.”
Realistically, it was always going to be a stretch to expect Toronto’s newest players to come out gangbusters given the acclimatization process they’re all going through.
While Laba impressed against Columbus and was named Man of the Match in the losing effort, Convey and Brockie delivered what one might have expected from an MLS veteran who has been glued to the bench with his previous club and a New Zealander who had never played a game outside of the A-League prior to his MLS debut.
“I’m glad I got to play a little bit,” Convey said after the game. “I’m going to be a little rusty after not playing for two months. So hopefully that was a start and we can build up from here. It’s just the first game and I don’t really know everybody’s name yet. Over the next few weeks, I will get involved with the players more and really get more involved with the team.”
Brockie was unavailable for comment after the match as he was participating in an MLS Reserve League match immediately afterwards, but recently acquired central defender Caldwell spoke of the game as an important opportunity to get his feet wet with a new team in a new league.
“I enjoyed being out there,” he said. “It was a bit of a difficult start and the legs felt a bit heavy in the final 10 minutes. At least I have played my first game. I’m just bitterly disappointed that we lost.”
TFC and their newest recruits will now endeavor to find their elusive winning formula on the road next weekend against a New England squad that sits above them in the Eastern Conference standings.
“We’ve got to shake ourselves down and get on with it,” Caldwell said. “We can’t afford to be negative and downbeat. We have to be positive and we have to work harder. And we have to make sure that we do things better in order to achieve results."
“You can’t be disappointed too long in this game. You have to get ready and focus on the next game and eventually it will turn and we’ll start picking up consecutive results.”