Toronto FC head coach surely knows in his heart that his club is down in the dumps & is bringing up the rear. He’s also well aware that elimination is imminent, as early as Wednesday. The 0-9 start ensured that they were never really in the playoff race. That by the way is the worst in Major League Soccer history and the pride associated with the TFC soccer uniforms has certainly been diminished. The little hope that he had for another dream run in CONCACAF Champions League soon disappeared when the team was defeated by the Mexico’s Santos Laguna, after conceding two late goals.
Mariner, though remains positive and insists that self-worth & contracts for next season is in line as TFC hits the pitch for the last nine games against much higher placed soccer teams in 2012, after a prolonged 11-day break.
Mariner sounded motivated and told the Star on the eve of the Wednesdays match versus Chicago Fire at BMO Field, “This is the last throw of the dice for us. We want to come up triumphant in every encounter. We’ll certainly be driving to ensure that we improve our current position”.
Six years on and the playoffs remain a distant dream. The early season optimism of the fans & club owners Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has been reduced to bitterness & anger leading to reduced turnout at BMO Field. Social Media is ripe with fans contemplating if it’s worth renewing season tickets & fans are demanding ticket rate cuts for 2013.
Mariner is fully cognizant that wins are the only way to restore the credibility and positive vibes for the club. “We all know what the city needs. Wins! As simple as that”, contemplates Mariner, whose the seventh head coach in six seasons. Mariner also pleads for some time, “Success isn’t far off, I promise. Just give me some time”. But TFC supporters are not impressed. Key injuries have hurt, but woeful defending has been widely accepted as the key reason.
Mariner maintains that he’s got a solid nucleus of players that is a good mix of youth & experience. Players from other soccer teams are on the RADAR for 2013. To strengthen the defense, Mariner said that Kevin McKenna is on the radar. Midfielder Torsten Frings and strikers Danny Koevermans and Eric Hassli will be back in 2013 after recovery from their injuries, Mariner said.
Mariner said. “I’ve told our players, if they don’t feel the pain of the appalling performance in 2012, they’d better prepare to say goodbye to TFC”. Mariner will do well to live up to his words and save the Red & White TFC soccer uniforms.