Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Time for TFC to get the GM and head coach positions sorted out

There have been a flurry of moves in recent days which suggest that Earl Cochrane may be shaping up to be more than just an interim GM. The first round draft pick (arguably the only pick that really matters in the Superdraft) was traded to the Whitecaps for Nathan Sturgis. Reports out of Dayton, Ohio suggest that TFC are actively trying to sign Bas Ent, a Dutch midfielder who appeared as a trialist last summer in the Carlsberg Cup game against Bolton, while Nane Joseph has been traded to the Colorado Rapids for a third round pick in 2012. There are also rumours on the Red Patch Boys messageboard that Dwayne DeRosario may soon be traded as his seemingly never ending pay dispute with both MLS and MLSE continues to rumble on. At least some of those moves are larger in scale than would normally be expected for a short-term and soon to be replaced interim appointment so a cynic might get the impression that Jurgen Klinsmann's role was firstly to generate season ticket sales and secondly to validate the new regime of Cochrane and Dasovic by using his high profile within the game to enhance their credibility amongst the fan base.

Nick Dasovic interviewed by OSATv

On paper at least Nick Dasovic has the credentials to be TFC's head coach. His record within the game certainly would not look out of place relative to that of Gary Smith and Schellas Hyndman, who just led their teams to the league's championship game. What I would question is why TFC would still want him after the ten game stint at the end of the season. Did he really not realize that the so called "Prekiball" tactics were necessary given the players that were available at that point? The team was still very much a work in progress given the dent in the salary cap caused by the acrimonious departures of Robinson and Gerba and the fiasco in the handling of DP signings during the summer transfer window (i.e. Mista's arrival and the lack of a plan B after Izaguirre's non-arrival when the team was crying out for better quality at left back and a viable option on the overlap out wide). Opening things up and playing a more attacking style with Dan Gargan and Nick Garcia at fullback was asking for trouble and then experimenting again with Hscanovics and Usanov pointed to his learning curve not bearing much of a resemblance to the north face of the Eiger.

Where TFC really need to get real, if a traditional North American GM role is still regarded as the normal way to operate by Tom Anselmi and other MLSE corporate types with a hockey sort of background is with Earl Cochrane. He may be a really good guy, I have only met him once briefly at a fan group meeting in late 2006 so have to take other people's word on that angle but his resume simply does not match what you would normally expect for a GM of a major league sports franchise. After playing for Carleton University, he is alleged to have played professionally in Asia but details appear to be sketchy as to what was actually involved in that regard. His previous experience within the game in North America at DC United and the CSA was primarily in a PR and logistical sort of capacity which would tend to point to him being better suited to fill the vacancy created by Michelle Lissel's departure rather than that of Mo Johnston.

I'd greatly prefer to see somebody else appointed but if Earl Cochrane is going to hang around in a GM role because MLSE suits find it much easier to relate to him than a more traditional soccer personality from the wrong side of the tracks of a European city like Glasgow, Newcastle or Belgrade, hopefully Jurgen Klinsmann will at least be trundled out at a press conference at some point to recommend that the role of the head coach be greatly enhanced in future with front office staff like Cochrane and Brennan carrying out the coach's instructions where trades and drafts are concerned. The next head coach would be closer to a British style "manager" than has been the case in the past three seasons in other words.

Eusebio wins Soccerbowl 1976 with MetrosCroatia

At that point some of the season ticket money that was secured by the Klinsmann consultancy role could be put to good use to entice the best possible candidate to fill that role. I've already explained in an earlier blog entry why I think that is Colin Clarke of the Puerto Rico Islanders. I suspect that somebody higher profile like Roberto Donadoni might emerge, however, given the way a large portion of the fanbase appears to be mesmerized by big name reputations and the importance of that in giving TFC the big time soccer aura that drives season ticket sales. Although a famous coach from Europe could prove risky and would probably lead to another season or two of failure, on the bright side it is perhaps worth bearing in mind what Metros-Croatia achieved 35 years ago next summer by signing Eusebio. Sometimes the big name from Europe actually delivers the goods even when in washed up hasbeen mode relative to the peak of his career. Hopefully Jurgen Klinsmann still has the level of contacts within the game required to point Tom Anselmi in the right direction.

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