State of Mind: Waiting for the other shoe to drop
Location: Not on a plane to Dallas, or Ecuador, or Europe
The more things change...well it's been a busy week for whoever writes the TFC press releases as it's been a veritable flurry of activity the past few days. The (finally) official announcement of Joao Plata's loan to LDU Quito came down and made the situation clear as slightly murky water instead of mud...apparently he'll be back in January but I'll believe that when I see his pint size frame back at BMO.
And then came the surprising (only for the timing) news that Nick Soolsma and the team had parted ways by "mutual consent". This was not an unexpected move as it had become apparent that Paul Mariner didn't rate him and that he wasn't going to be part of the team's long term plans. Personally I thought Soolsma was one of TFC's better players this season - he seemed to have picked up some added pace in the off season that made those runs down the wing and that patented turn move of his even more deadly. And I truly believe he made the team better - However, the change in coach put the writing on the wall for Suarez's owner (Houston escapades notwithstanding) so while disappointing; it's not at all surprising.
But the biggest news of the day - OK, last night - was the trade of TFC's first DP Julian DeGuzman to FC Dallas. The rumblings started on twitter late in the evening (this is why you need twitter kids) and by 2am there was confirmation from JDG's agent that he was indeed on his way to give Brek Shea hair tips. Official word didn't come down until today but it was obvious that Julian was moved in order to free up some additional cap space, open the possibility for a new DP and again, he wasn't a player that Mariner was going to utilize going forward.
JDG's presence on the team was a polarizing one for many fans - most either loved or hated him. Those firmly on the dislike side railed against his monster contract and seeming ineffectiveness on the pitch. His supporters loved his feisty play and point to the intangibles of his play. I fall somewhere in the middle. I was often frustrated by his inability to perform in MLS games at the same (and highly competent) level as he did during CCL games. The difference in the style of play just never seemed to be something he could consistently overcome. And yes, he was much improved this season and had a really nice run of form in the past couple of months; but this was never going to be a lasting arrangement. When he was on his game (and when he plays for the CMNT) I'm a fan; when he's doing his "walking yellow card" act and kicking balls into the stratosphere, not so much. I expect that in true former Red fashion he'll do spectacularly well in Dallas and I do wish him well - especially if it keeps him sharp for CMNT games!
After all this clearing of the locker room - and there is more coming - what has TFC received in return? Not much as of yet, although there are all sorts of rumblings about defensive help in the form of one or more players being on their way. But first up is Generation Adidas player, 22 year old Andrew Wiedeman (Pronounced Wee-de-man? Puns be praised!) who while listed as a forward seems to play anywhere but at centreback. He has barely played at all for FCD so looks like a work in progress and definitely not a starter. Whether he is meant to be some sort of back-up for Danny and RJ remains to be seen but he is already with the team in New England so there is that outside chance that we'll see his debut tomorrow night.
As it stands at the moment TFC is not improved by all of these changes; at least not yet. Not to belittle the (unknown and hopefully eventual) contributions of Wiedeman, there's still no answer for the team's most pressing need and that is a quality CB. I do hope that the promised help is coming to bolster the backline and give it the leader and anchor they've never had; anything else is really a waste of resources.
Lamborghini Links: The Yorkies, Waking The Red and Red Nation Online.