TFC sits still, again

GARETH WHEELER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:26 PM ET

A team in desperate need of better players continues to stand pat.

For a second straight week, Toronto FC passed on their MLS re-entry draft pick, deciding no player was better for their rebuilding process than any of the talent made available. The additional salary attached to any player selected was a price Toronto FC’s interim front office staff was unwilling to pay to improve their roster.

Stage Two of the re-entry draft gave teams the opportunity to negotiate contracts with unprotected players at a rate less than the player’s current or previous rate. And while the draft gave the opportunity to find savvy buys and value without paying any compensatory or additional cost, Toronto said thanks, but no thanks.

Considering the promptness of the “we did nothing today” story appearing on Toronto FC’s website mere minutes after the conclusion of the draft, it’s hard to believe the club planned on doing anything from the get-go.

And it’s not as if the list of players available was a collection of has-beens and lesser-likes. Proven commodities were available among the bunch. TFC surely could have benefited from the addition of at least one of the players.

Of note, one of Major League Soccer’s top strikers, Juan Pablo Angel, was selected by the Los Angeles Galaxy, who traded up to take the veteran goal-scorer. The Galaxy look to be loading up, in what will be David Beckham’s last contract year in MLS. If Angel is willing to take a non-Designated Player contract, the Galaxy will enter the ‘scary good’ realm.

Angel, 35, wouldn’t have come cheap, but would have made absolute sense for Toronto FC, who have been far too thin and unproductive up front since their inception.

Toronto FC also always have been short on defensive depth. US internationals Jimmy Conrad and Frankie Hejduk were taken by Chivas USA and Sporting Kansas City respectively, with Hejduk later dealt to L.A.. Veteran striker Josh Wolff was taken first overall by DC United.

Eleven players were selected Wednesday; far more activity than the two players finding new homes last week in Stage One. 22 players were not selected, including defender Adrian Serioux, a Toronto native, and veteran Canadian goalkeeper Pat Onstad. They are now considered free agents.

Toronto FC’s inactivity is the ultimate signal the team is trying to avoid making a Cliff Fletcher-type mistake for the soccer team, taking players that may or may not be in the future head coach or general manager’s plans.

So instead of improving, like many other teams have in recent weeks, the status quo is maintained. And while the official start of the season may be three months away, vital team preparation work beings just over a month from now, and no clear vision as to what the team will become has been established.

And as said in this space last week, the longer the team waits to hire a permanent head coach and general manager (which could very well be the same person), the further behind the rebuilding/building process they will be.

gareth.wheeler@suntv.canoe.ca


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