TFC needs help but not complete turnover

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:23 PM ET

TORONTO - Toronto FC’s players, management and ownership are in agreement.

Despite a disappointing 9-13-8 playoff-less season, there is a base to build around and the club’s roster should not be blown to smithereens.

That’s not to say an influx of talent is not desperately needed — it certainly is — but rather, turning the lineup over entirely should be avoided.

Making massive annual changes — a hallmark of deposed GM Mo Johnston — was a key reason why TFC has floundered and that fact was not lost on Canadian midfielder Julian de Guzman.

“The unfortunate thing is we just didn’t have that much time to build a team and everything was all rushed,” de Guzman said.

By tinkering with the roster too much, Johnston put himself in a difficult position cap-wise, leaving the team scrambling with a woefully short group early on.

“When you go into the pre-season with 12 players in practice, that’s a difficult thing to start off with,” de Guzman said.

“If you look at the stats, it was 42 games in seven months, basically using 15 guys.

“After the (World Cup) break, things broke down, guys were burnt out, mentally (and) physically.”

According to interim general manager Earl Cochrane, the team needs to get quicker and younger.

TFC clearly needs far more depth in order to deal with Canadian national team callups, as well as CONCACAF and Canadian Championship tournaments.

Cochrane also said moves to improve must be made wisely in a salary-cap league, but said the team sees the designated player spots as “valuable assets” and will be looking to add talent, particularly in order to make TFC a more dangerous attacking side.

That said, the changes do not figure to be massive.

“We didn’t deliver, clearly, there are going to be some changes, but I don’t think blowing it up is the way we need to look at it,” said Tom Anselmi, MLSEL chief operating officer.

“Players perform better in a stable environment. We haven’t been stable enough the last couple of years and need to build a culture of stability.”

But whether disgruntled team captain Dwayne De Rosario will be part of that newfound stability remains to be seen.

De Rosario believes he should be making more money — and it’s hard to argue with him since he scored a career-best 15 goals while the rest of the team managed 18 combined — but offered a no comment on his contract status Tuesday before saying “I hope to be (back).”

Odds are he is, with a little more help.

The team wants to add an explosive winger or two and wants to be able to stretch the field better.

“We have a core here that we think we can work with,” assistant GM Jim Brennan said.

“We need some pace, it’s a young man’s game, it’s athletic, especially this league. We want guys that can run, that are hungry for the ball.”


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