Regardless what happens in Toronto FC’s finale Saturday and what his future at the club may have in store, interim head coach Nick Dasovic can leave with his head held high.
Toronto FC finishes their dysfunctional 2010 Major League Soccer season at DC United; a match featuring two teams sure to undergo massive off-season transitions.
The match will be the last game for MLS and DC United legend, Jaime Moreno. The four-time MLS Cup Champion will wear the captain’s arm-band on a night DC United will pay tribute to the Bolivian talisman’s record-setting career.
Celebrating such success as Moreno’s and his championship years in MLS can only be dreamed of in TFC country. If Saturday’s farewell will be fond for Moreno, it will be a rather unceremonious good-bye for many players, and most likely staff at Toronto FC.
A new technical regime will take over at the club during the off-season, leaving everyone’s future up in the air, including Dasovic.
“I’ve told the players openly, we are all playing for our contracts — players and coach —and some of us will lose our jobs because this hasn’t been good enough,” Dasovic told Sun Media. “Who it’s going to be that goes, nobody knows.”
Dasovic has been open about his desire to stay, grow and win at Toronto FC. The chances he?ll be able to continue the process as head coach seems unlikely.
“(The past month) has been whirlwind, for sure, and I think this last game represents a lot for the current staff and group of players,” said Dasovic. “The players and I have taken the challenge head on and I think we’ve all responded well.”
The former Canadian International was thrown into a no-win situation when named interim head coach in mid-September, replacing Preki at the helm after a disheartening loss to DC United killed any realistic hope of TFC making the playoffs.
An assistant coach at the time, Dasovic wasn’t on the bench that day, with the former regime insisting he was away ‘scouting’ instead of on the sidelines. His promotion to head coach just days later made it abundantly clear Dasovic was favoured at the club rather than the out-going coach.
“I didn’t expect it to happen, but I was left no choice than to get on with it, make a go of it, and make a positive difference. I think I’ve done that — and maybe it’s come too late, but it was a tough job, but a great experience.”
Although the team has struggled to a 2-4-3 finish under Dasovic in MLS and CONCACAF Champions League play, the coach has been a positive influence. The players have played hard for the coach and for each other over the last month. And tactical adjustments, such as playing Dan Gargan alongside Julian de Guzman in a holding midfield role has finally given the team a true system where it seems to be more fluid.
“I know the kind of team I want to build and I want to be a part of it in Toronto. This has been a great taste but I want more. I can handle the job and am ready for it.”
Dasovic says he would be willing to stay on at the club in another role other than head coach if Toronto FC were to go out and hire a world renowned manager of winning pedigree. If a new head coach were to be named he deemed at his same level, he would have to re-evaluate the situation.
“My journey has been long, across different avenues in different countries and among different cultures. And often times you’re not good enough for a job until you go away,” said Dasovic. “But sometimes the best guy is in your own backyard.?
Even after Saturday, Dasovic says he’ll keep performing his head coaching duties until he’s told he’s not the head coach any longer.
“I’ve got my plane ticket booked to fly out and do some scouting next weekend.”
Based upon the respect he?s garnered through hard work and integrity, Dasovic’s flight doesn’t appear to be a one-way ticket.