Honeymoon's over for Mo

GARETH WHEELER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:16 AM ET

There's nothing like a marriage proposal at a soccer stadium.

That romantic gesture was a sideshow during Toronto FC's 1-1 tie with Houston on Saturday.

The proposal was as beautiful as it was ironic, as it seems the honeymoon is over for Mo Johnston as TFC general manager.

TFC has only two wins since the end of May and Johnston's resources to bring in new players seemingly start and end with one man.

In the backdrop of the proposal were banners across the Red Patch Boys supporters section proclaiming: "Mo Must Go."

TFC's losing ways have taken their toll on even the staunch supporters. But even the untrained soccer eye can tell the product on the field is not up to par.

Thus the calls for no more Mo.

Why has this team struggled to the point it is behind the expansion San Jose Earthquakes in the standings?

And how does "Canada's Soccer team" fall in a CONCACAF club competition to a so-called lesser side, the Montreal Impact?

While coaching is an easy scapegoat, the true problem is in the building of the team.

That's Johnston job.

Don't blame MLSEL. It has provided enough financial backing and has entrusted the charming Johnston with the keys to the bus. Unfortunately, the bus has been stuck in neutral.

It's more than just Johnston's inability to sign a designated player. It's more than the built-in excuse of potential signees who are reluctant to play on FieldTurf.

Let's start with the fact TFC has no players deemed strong enough to start for Canada's men's team. Yes, defender Jim Brennan and goalkeeper Greg Sutton are legitimate pieces of the national team puzzle. But spots in the starting lineup are rightfully not given.

Brennan and Sutton are not TFC's biggest problem, but Johnston's other Canadian signings are.

Following Brennan's signing with the club nearly two years ago, Johnston's next three Canadian signings were all agent Barry MacLean's clients -- Adam Braz, Marco Reda and Chris Pozniak. After one miserable season, all were deemed expendable. Interestingly, Johnston also is represented by MacLean.

Interesting also is the influx of other MacLean clientele into TFC's roster. Brian Edwards, Kevin Harmse, Abdus Ibrahim, Chad Barrett, and Amado Guevara are known to be represented by MacLean's First Wave Sports Marketing firm, as is Nick Dasovic, who runs the TFC Academy.

Other players represented by MacLean who have been acquired and traded away by TFC include Ronnie O'Brien, Kevin Goldwaithe, Nate Jaqua and Adrian Serioux.

MacLean also ran Toronto FC's open tryouts, helped bring West Ham to Toronto for the MLS all-star game, and has been integral in bringing other international club teams to BMO Field for friendlies.

Other sources of recruiting players aren't working either.

What of Johnston's three-week off-season mission to Brazil? Nothing.

What of Johnston's recruitment of players in places not known as Scotland or the English Championship Division? Not much.

Clearly, the college SuperDraft has been Johnston's forte, but that gets the team only so far.

With defender Marvell Wynne rumoured to be going overseas and Danny Dichio's health and age a concern, TFC's framework for a competitive team in 2009 looks far from a sure thing.

A general manager with serious connections is needed to turn things around. Regardless, Johnston's leash should be shortened.

Year 1 was a mulligan. The struggles in Year 2 have raised a red flag. If Johnston is allowed to play general manager in Year 3, a winning team will be mandatory.

If not, it won't just be the honeymoon that's over, but so will the marriage.


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