Plenty of doom and gloom

GARETH WHEELER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

Everything's not lost.

You never want to use a Coldplay song to make a point, but there's truth in those lyrics, especially when it comes to soccer in this city and country.

Over the past week, doomsday-type prophecies have been cast upon the Canadian men's team after a premature elimination from World Cup qualifying.

Along the same lines, calls for restructuring surely will be directed at Toronto FC in the not-so distant future after failing to make the playoffs.

But let's look at some of the positives for both teams.

CREDIT DUE

Starting with the national side, the Canadian Soccer Association deserves credit for its treatment of the players during qualifying.

There is a lot to criticize when it comes to the CSA, but the players were treated well, travelled well and were adequately compensated for their services.

The organization did its best to cater to the players' needs.

Chartering flights to Mexico and beyond come with no slight price tag. The same goes for flying players all across the world.

More important than the organizational comings and goings are the positives coming from the field.

Centre-back Andre Hainault must be included in future teams. The 22-year-old continues to advance. His decision-making will improve with experience, but he has shown signs that he could solidify a position that has been a weakness since the retirement of Jason de Vos.

STYLE IS BENEFICIAL

Adrian Serioux has the size and skill to get the job done at right back. More importantly, Serioux proves Canadian MLS players will not just get a shot with the national side, but their style of play can be extremely beneficial to succeeding in CONCACAF play.

Up front, there is no question Ali Gerba is a natural goal-scorer and should be a mainstay in Canada's attack.

Head coach Dale Mitchell's decision to employ a 4-5-1 system for qualifying was a huge mistake.

A player such as Gerba, or Rob Friend, cannot thrive in that negative system. When Gerba has a strike partner, such as he did with Tomasz Radzinski in the last game against Mexico, he shines.

The 26-year-old has the ability to hold up the ball and create on attack, but more importantly has a nose for goal. Six goals this year for this country is no small feat.

During qualifying, it became clear Julien de Guzman and Atiba Hutchinson have some maturing to do internationally. This learning experience, however, will give these young stars more motivation to prove they can be the backbone for a rejuvenated Canadian team.

As for TFC, aside from a strong start and strong finish, the most promising statistic from the club was its dominance at BMO Field.

More important in soccer than any other sport is taking care of business at home. TFC lost only two games at BMO and one of those losses -- to Chivas -- came with the majority of its players on international duty.

In 23-year-old Chad Barrett, TFC has found a spark-plug up front. The Wayne Rooney look-a-like has looked Rooney-esque on the field, with his high-energy runs and a bulldog mentality.

At the back, Marvell Wynne is an elite player. As the season went on, his distribution and patience improved, making him a more complete player. If the speedy Wynne is leaving TFC to play in Europe next season, it would be a huge loss.

On the Canadian front, Kevin Harmse has shown he can be a contributing factor. His workmanship and hard-nosed play was something that was lacking during the dog days of summer. Every team needs the muscle and attitude he possesses.

Rohan Ricketts has proven bringing English players into the MLS fold doesn't always end in disappointment. Andy Welsh anyone? Ricketts initially struggled, but with John Carver's help, his creative flair and ability stood out in the second half.

And that brings us to the coach himself. The fiery Carver has been predicted by many to be on his way out this off-season. Quite frankly, Carver is someone the franchise can ill-afford to lose.

His outspoken ways, toward the league and his own players, although not misguided has raised red flags.

But Carver's passion, perseverance and persistence stood above any of the flaws. TFC being undermanned and under-talented led to failure and not any of Carver's doings.

It's only fair Carver has another chance to get the job done with potential reinforcements on the way.


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