Time for another change in Toronto.
Toronto FC announced on Sunday that head coach Ryan Nelsen has been relieved of their duties in the wake of Saturday's 3-0 home loss to the New England Revolution.
Assistant coaches Fran O’Leary, Jim Brennan, and Duncan Oughton, along with goalkeeper coach Stewart Kerr, and strength and conditioning coach Adrian Lamb were also let go. Assistant coach Jason Bent was offered a position with the club.
Nelsen, 36, departs with a 15-26-17 record in league play since taking the reins ahead of the 2013 season. He also posted a 2-3-1 record in the Amway Canadian Championship, in which the Reds lost to the Montreal Impact in the semifinals in 2013 and again in the final in 2014.
But Nelsen’s priority from the moment he was hired was to helm TFC to their first MLS playoff berth since being founded in 2007.
In his first year in charge, Nelsen led them to a 9th-place finish in the East as he began to rebuild the roster.
The rebuilding project made a quantum leap in the offseason ahead of the 2014 season, with the signing of big-name Designated Players Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe, and Gilberto. Fully stocked with high-priced talent, the Reds started the campaign strongly, winning their season opener in Seattle, 2-1. They went on to win six of their first 11 matches and put themselves on a steady trajectory to qualify for the MLS playoffs for the first time in club history.
But since the World Cup break, injuries and slack performances have undone TFC’s momentum. They have won just three of 13 games since June 27, and they are 2-4-1 in their last seven matches. Although they remain above the “red line” in the Eastern Conference, their playoff position has become precarious.
Nelsen’s time in Toronto seemed to come to a quick close after he publicly sounded off following the loss to New England. In the lead up to the game, TFC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko called on the team to "take it up a notch." After the loss, Nelsen fired back, saying the players "felt like it this was way more of a pressure game than actually it was."
Bez: Those comments (Nelsen made) were excuses, and we are not in the excuse business. #TFClive— Toronto FC (@torontofc) August 31, 2014
Vanney, 40, will be TFC’s 9th manager in its 8-year existence, including two interim coaches.
He will be expected to shore things up immediately with 10 games left to play, starting on Wednesday with a trip to the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park.
Vanney has never been a first-team head coach but brings a wealth of experience to the job. As a player he was capped 36 times for the US national team, and featured at left back for the LA Galaxy, FC Dallas, Colorado Rapids, and D.C. United during 10 seasons in MLS. He also spent three years with Bastia in the French league.
Since retiring in 2008, he has worked in various coaching positions, including as director of the Real Salt Lake academy in Casa Grande, Arizona, and as assistant coach at Chivas USA under Robin Fraser in 2012. He has been with TFC since December.
Vanney: We need to he more aggressive and look to grab 3 points instead of afraid of losing 2 or 3 points. #TFClive— Toronto FC (@torontofc) August 31, 2014