Ahead of today's match against Toronto FC, we here at LAG Confidential sat down with fellow SB Nation blow Waking The Red to get the skinny on that red team from north of the border. Without any further ado, let's dive right into the questions:
1. Wow, just what happened to Toronto this season? They didn't look this bad taking apart the Galaxy in Champions League.
That was the problem. After the CCL quarterfinal happened, the disaster struck. Torsten Frings went out for six weeks from the Seattle turf, then we fired Aron Winter. Oh, and then there was that season ending knee injury to our howitzer of a goal scorer named Danny Koevermans on the New England turf (CURSE YOU TURF, YOU BANE OF OUR EXISTENCE! Ahem, sorry...lost my sanity for a second there) -- throw in injuries here and there, followed by just plain bad performances: defensive lapses, late conceded goals, and the like. It just goes on and on.
Oh sure, there was the Canadian Championship win (our fourth in a row), but that's cold comfort. Paul Mariner finally won his civil war with Aron Winter, and things still haven't gotten much better: Eric Avila and Milos Kocic are glued to the bench due to front office drama spilling onto the field (something about contract negotiations) -- all of this just makes me tired, and I think most of us are too. It's caused supporters to clash with one another, while ML$E continues to fiddle while the proverbial Rome burns by promoting COO (chairman) Tom Anselmi to a higher rank.
Drama and incompetence, thy name is Toronto FC...
2. Speaking of Champions League, when Toronto was placed in a group with Santos, how did you accept fate and move on?
Pretty much we knew that it was ALMOST a done deal on the inside -- but outside, given all the smack talk that Herculez Gomez and his teammates dished up during our last encounter, the ill will gave us some hope, and a bit of inspiration. The key to that hope, of course, was to win at BMO -- but you probably know, we failed to do that. The general feeling is a resignation to losing in Torreon, given our recent form.
Is there another miracle in the works? Maybe...but I ain't holding my breath for it
3. How does Toronto rebuild in the offseason?
Torsten Frings is aging, Danny Koevermans is broken, and Eric Hassli is either broken or crap (sort of like an old apartment elevator). We're no longer saddled with JDG (which to me is a good thing...sorry Dallas, you'll see why shortly), but we still have Ryan Johnson, who can't hit the side of a barn on a good day. So we need a striker for sure, someone who can put those goals in the back of the net -- this becomes critical if Koevermans doesn't return in 2013. Luis Silva has shown some bright spots, but again...can't do it all alone.
If Frings doesn't return, we'll definitely need a new midfield general. Ashtone Morgan is great, but is still very young like a majority of the players on the team -- it definitely would've been nice if MLS didn't ixnay our deal with Olof Mellberg, but that's neither here nor there -- the defence is relatively solid, with Darren O'Dea and Richard Eckersley (which I call Guinness & Boddingtons...okay, I just made that up) forming a growing partnership there. They have their issues of course, but then again who in MLS doesn't have a shoddy defence?
In short, Paul Mariner has to rebuild the team his way to address the laundry list of problems -- but for once, the defence might not be where he needs to start.
4. Is there still something to play for this year? What do you hope to see from the team as they close out 2012?
Nope, there isn't much more. I know most of us are resigned to a whole series of losses to playoff bound teams (such as yours). The players will be playing for their jobs of course -- and honestly, I just want to see some effort. We have a huge chance to spoil some teams' playoff dreams -- why the heck not? Sorry LA!
5. Are there any youngsters you expect to get a tryout with the playoffs out of reach?
For one, Aaron Maund has been out and about in the last few games, and have done okay here and there. But other than that, there hasn't been many others. Luis Silva has been an absolute inspiration since he scored that goal against you at Skydome/Rogers Centre, and has come on as of late. So I'd say those two are looking to be the key kids for the future. There's Matt Stinson as well, but he's a bit injury prone...
6. What do you expect to happen tomorrow?
It'll be just another day, another loss. Maybe another surprise win? I don't know...we have a history of winning at the Home Depot Centre against you, but