It was a bloody big deal! Toronto FC did what Toronto sports teams have done one too many times, making big moves with catchy slogans. FC did everything to hype their fan base up for the season that was full of high expectations, but like we’ve seen in Toronto before, the avalanche came crashing down at a rapid speed. Be it the Blue Jays and their 2012 shopping spree, the Maple Leafs’ questionable signings or the Raptors’ quick builds, FC fell into a similar trap.
Major League Soccer welcomed FC in 2006 and over those eight years, Toronto’s newly founded soccer team struggled to win games, let alone make the playoffs. Luckily Toronto welcomed their saviour Tim Leiweke, who took over as the CEO for the Maple Leafs and Sports Entertainment, and is now the owner of FC.
Leiweke’s goal is not just to make money for MLSE — which seems to have been the goal for quite some time — but also wanting to bring the MLS Cup to Toronto, the same as when he wanted the Stanley Cup and NBA Championship. Leiweke wasn’t messing around when the team announced a couple moves that changed soccer. FC brought in Jermain Defoe from Tottenham and quickly signed Michael Bradley and Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar after two blockbuster signings that raised the expectations to a new level for FC. However, after all of these moves this team had yet to do anything. Sadly, fans would see that they weren’t going to.
FC got off to a quick 3-1 start to begin the season with wins over Seattle, D.C. United and Columbus, all of which have clinched a playoff spot. FC held a playoff spot for most of the season until issues off the field began to take the spotlight. Head Coach Ryan Nelson was fired after a 9-8-6 start with the team, with Nelson’s public comments regarding General Manager Tim Besbatchenko leading to his dismissal, along with the rest of the coaching staff. Since that time, FC finished the season on a 2-7-2 stretch.
Then came the comments of Leiweke regarding Defoe.
“If you don’t want to be here, get the hell out of our way,” he said. This created a rift between Defoe and the club, leaving the strikers’ future with the team uncertain. Bradley hasn’t had many issues off the field, but has dealt with his own injury problems, including his recent surgery on a nerve in his foot. Defoe may also go under the knife regarding a groin injury.
The start was great for FC, but after comments from a couple individuals, the season went downhill. What is worse is that the architect who began this project with MLSE, Leiweke, has now planned his departure from MLSE as CEO. FC has also received offers from other clubs regarding Defoe.
For the ninth straight season, FC has missed the playoffs. They got their fans excited. They made it a ‘bloody big deal’. They did what every Toronto team has tried to do and just like the rest, they failed. Now, Toronto FC is back to being a bloody big failure.