Pressure on TFC to drop season seat prices

Toronto FC season seat holders should be in for a drop in prices based on “loyalty” to the...

Toronto FC season seat holders should be in for a drop in prices based on “loyalty” to the club. We're sure the Red Patch Boys would like that. (QMI Agency files)

Kurtis Larson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:26 AM ET

Loyalty has been “core to the discussions” surrounding Toronto FC season ticket packages ahead of the 2013 season — but the pricing details have yet to be finalized.

With pressure mounting following the Montreal Impact’s decision to cut 2013 season seat prices after a decent inaugural MLS season by 15% last month, MLSE says it plans to send out notices to its seat holders sometime next week with information pertaining to when pricing will be released.

“We’re looking at our pricing and it’s going to be based on loyalty,” said Rajani Kamath, media relations for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.”

On the heels of a disastrous campaign that has seen the Reds sit bottom of the league since losing on opening day in Seattle, whether that will mean a lowering of prices remains to be seen.

“We’re integrating a number of different recommendations around (loyalty),” Kamath confirmed to the Sun.

As TFC’s top brass deals added pressure thanks to Impact owner Joey Saputo, who claims to have “listened” to fans before a price reduction, in Vancouver they’re doing more of the same, offering early-bird specials and student pricing for Whitecap supporters out west.

Although a price increase is completely out of the question at BMO Field, Toronto’s embattled supporters deserve more than a freeze.

How much that is remains to be seen.

CELLAR DWELLERS

The door to Toronto FC head coach Paul Mariner’s office is always open.

“If anyone has any complaints … they know where my office is,” said Mariner, who told reporters Friday that he has already informed his players of his lineup for this afternoon’s match against the visiting Philadelphia Union. “I doubt anyone will knock on my door.”

Following Wednesday’s loss to the visiting Chicago Fire — one that officially knocked TFC out of the playoffs for the sixth time in as many seasons — Mariner continued his charismatic candidness, insinuating that the excuses have run out for a club that finds itself in jeopardy of producing its worst MLS points total to date.

“You can only reason with people for a certain amount of time and then you’ve got to bring the hammer down,” Mariner said with a slight grin. “That’s what I did.”

It’s what he should have done long before the club failed to win for the eighth time in as many league tries — a game less than the unheard of MLS run of nine matches that former head coach Aron Winter punished fans with to start this season.

It appears the wheels have come back off after a promising spell that saw Toronto lose once during the end of June and throughout July under its seventh coach since 2007.

“I addressed the players and made sure they absolutely know what’s on the line,” said Mariner, before being asked if his players received the message. “It will be interesting (Saturday) ... We’ll see. One o’clock we’ll find out.”

Take that to mean jobs are the line. And some, likely many, players won’t be back at BMO Field in 2013 — or anywhere in this league for that matter.

But for Toronto’s latest bench boss, it’s the way his players have gone about their business, mailing it in as summer comes to a close and appearing to already have an eye on the off-season.

“If you don’t want to win then don’t put the red shirt on — don’t be part of it,” Mariner said. It was all he could say to a group of players who have played with an inexplicable lack of passion and focus through August and September.

“We’ve got to have winners,” Mariner continued. “That’s the one thing we’ve got to have all the way through the club.”

Which should produce a lot of roster turnover come the end of October.

THIS AND THAT

Following Friday’s training, Mariner said Irish international Darren O’Dea is in doubt for today’s match after picking up a knock Wednesday night in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Fire … Toronto will be without Ashtone Morgan, who picked up his fifth yellow card against Chicago and will be suspended due to accumulation … TFC announced Friday it has acquired a conditional draft pick from the Seattle Sounders in exchange for Toronto’s allocation ranking ... With the league’s roster deadline looming, the New York Red Bulls on Friday introduced Brazilian defender Digao, 26, as the club’s newest signing. Recently on loan at Portuguese Segunda side Penafiel from A.C. Milan, Digao is Brazilian international Kaka’s younger brother … The Windy City is set to welcome another former member of El Tri. After watching Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Nery Castillo and Pavel Pardo wear Chicago’s colours, the Fire announced Friday the signing of former Mexican international Guillermo Franco, 35, as the club’s newest attacker … Moving back to the east coast, D.C. United locked up Chris Pontius to what the club termed a long-term deal Friday. The 25-year-old has 10 goals for the Black and White this season to lead all scorers in the U.S. capital.


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