Fanshawe FC: Toronto FC's need for consistency grows

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: FRANK GUNN/THE CANADIAN PRESS
Ryan Nelsen on the day he was hired in January of 2013. He lasted 64 games at the helm of Toronto FC, tied for the franchise record.

When Toronto FC fired head coach Ryan Nelsen back in August, it marked another era in the team’s troubled history.

Greg Vanney, who was sworn in as their ninth head coach in eight seasons, took the reins of a club that was in free-fall. Vanney didn’t do much to prevent that in his first two games, losing to Philadelphia in back-to-back games.

The jury is still out on Vanney, as the team remains in the same place it was when Nelsen was let go.

When the news broke on August 31, #ThatsSoTFC was trending in the sports Twittersphere. The TFC’s track record with coaches has been a long one (or short, depending on how you see it), with many coaches coming and going without much thought.

Ironically, Ryan Nelsen would have been the longest-serving coach in TFC history if he managed another match (he and Aron Winter are tied with 64 games each), showing how much of an influence he had on this team. In fact, the team acquired 19 of the 27 players on TFC’s roster while Nelsen was at the helm. He hardly had a chance to work with this club before he was canned.

In the last game Nelsen ever managed for TFC, he played a 4-2-3-1. In every game before then (from what anyone could tell), he listed a 4-4-2 – the default formation for the past couple decades.

At times, it seemed as if he was throwing the boys out to play, but near the end, he was mixing things up as the diversity of his player pool strengthened. That 4-2-3-1 game ended in a 3-0 loss to New England, but it just showed how unwilling the club was to try new things and let it flow.

Ryan Nelsen was having the best season of any TFC manager up until the day he was fired. They were in a position to make the playoffs – something no Reds manager has been able to do.

The club had lost two and tied one in its three games leading up to the firing. Not a bad stretch by any means, and even though it was the club’s worst run of matches all season, it doesn’t come anywhere close to what some former Reds managers have been fired for in years past.

Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all.

Overall, Toronto FC just needs some stability for once in its life. While managers plant their seed and await the fruits of their labour, ownership plucks the fruit far before it is ripe.
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