10 . July 6, 2010 – WE’RE STILL MYSTIFIED
When Toronto FC announced Miguel Ángel Ferrer Martínez – aka Mista – as a Designated Player, supporters weren’t sure what to expect. But after watching his rickety, 30-plus frame labour through nine games under Preki, it was impossible to stomach the club issuing such a lazy player a contract of close to $1 million. While the former Spanish international is taking the brunt, flops like Laurent Robert, Carlos Ruiz and Jeff Cunningham aren’t far behind.
9. October 24, 2009 – PLAYOFFS WASHED AWAY IN NEW YORK
The New York Red Bulls were 4-19-6 before TFC travelled to Giants Stadium on an October night. A win-and-you’re-in situation on the final day, three points against the league’s laughing stock would have seen the Reds jump above New England as the seventh seed in the playoffs. With interest still peaking in a soccer-crazed city, the Reds put in a laugher against what was the league’s most laughable team, going down a goal two minutes in before a 5-0 finish in the rain.
8. September 11, 2009 – DE GUZMAN’S DP DEAL
Despite sending him to Dallas in July, TFC is still paying Julian de Guzman close to $2 million this season based on the ludicrous deal he signed in 2009. A decent player who undoubtedly makes a good team better, injury issues and unexplainable poor performances severely handicapped a club that always seems to be fighting for cap space. To be frank, it’s difficult to justify making an average midfielder the fifth highest-paid player in the league.
7. May 28, 2011 – TFC HIT FOR SIX
In front of 20,122 supporters, the Reds trailed the visiting Philadelphia Union 2-0 less than 11 minutes in. After the Union made it three before halftime, TFC supporters began filing out of BMO Field earlier than ever before. But beyond the final 6-2 finish, it was how the Reds presented themselves, rolling over when times were tough and embarrassing a close to capacity crowd that was beside itself with the amateurish product on the day.
6. June 18, 2012 – BAR-BRAWLIN’ TFC THREE
After opening 2012 with 10 losses in 11 tries, fans thought it simply couldn’t get worse. They were wrong. As first reported by the Toronto Sun in June, Luis Silva, Miguel Aceval and Nick Soolsma were booked the night before a match in Texas following a disturbance outside a Houston nightclub. After being bailed out by DP and team DD Julian de Guzman the next morning, Soolsma and Aceval were eventually sent packing.
5. January 6, 2011 – WINTER-MARINER ANNOUNCED
The decision to hire two men with very different footballing philosophies has to be one of the worst decisions by an MLS management team to date. Horror stories from Aron Winter’s reign continue to permeate months after the Dutchman was replaced by current head coach Paul Mariner, who continues to face mass amounts of scrutiny for the damage is predecessor produced. Worse was Winter’s unwavering confidence following lopsided losses – losses he somehow always said Toronto didn’t deserve.
4. January 15, 2009 – A DRAFT THAT HURTS TO THIS DAY
With the second- and fourth-overall picks in the 2009 draft, TFC looked certain to improve. After the expansion Seattle Sounders chose unanimous No. 1 Steve Zakuani, the Reds went with Sam Cronin at No. 2, O’Brian White at No. 4, and Stefan Frei at No. 13, a pick which rounded out a painfully average draft that, when looking back, haunts the club to this day. Left on the board after Cronin were Omar Gonzalez, Chris Pontius, Matt Besler and George John, all players who have received U.S. national team call-ups.
3. FROM THEN TO NOW
In six short seasons, TFC’s ownership has raised season seat prices by as much as 100% in some sections, peeving its most loyal supporters who routinely stand rooted to BMO Field’s south stand. As if the empty seats at BMO Field haven’t been sobering enough, Montreal’s decision to lower ticket prices ahead of 2013 will surely put the club’s top brass to the test.
2. August 22, 2006 – JOHNSTON ANNOUNCED
Great players don’t always make the switch -- which quickly became the case when MLSE announced former Scottish international Mo Johnston as the club’s first coach in 2006. From an embarrassingly poor inaugural expansion draft to a mismanaged cap, many of the decisions Johnston made continue to hurt the club today. Management’s questionable first hire took his incompetency up a level a year later when the unforgivable decision was made to move him from the sidelines to the director’s box.
1. April 1, 2011 – APRIL FOOLS, RIGHT?
Dwayne De Rosario might as well have been traded for a bag of balls. Orchestrating a deal to send its all-time leading scorer to Red Bull Arena last season, former TFC bench boss Aron Winter received Tony Tchani, Danleigh Borman and a draft pick (Aaron Maund) in return. The trade went from bad to worse when Tchani was traded to Columbus for Leandre Griffit and Andy Iro. After watching De Rosario win his first MVP crown and Golden Boot last season, the inability to keep one of Canada’s top players happy might never be forgiven.