Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
MLS boss confident Toronto FC on the mend
TORONTO -- The commissioner of Major League Soccer says Toronto FC is looking to make some "bold moves" to improve the product on the field.
Toronto (5-21-8) missed the playoffs for the sixth straight year since joining the league in 2007. And the struggling club posted franchise worsts for wins (five), losses (21), points (23), goals against (62) and winless string (14).
Commissioner Don Garber said he has faith in the new ownership of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment and president Tom Anselmi.
"I believe that they will be looking to make some bold moves to try to address their lack of success on the field," he said Monday during his annual media state-of-the-league conference call.
"It certainly pains us a bit. We look back at what was such an incredible story in '07. That clearly was one of the launching pads for the development of what we call MLS 2.0. And to see that not continue to the level it was in the early years is disappointing."
Garber did not detail the planned moves but suggested they might be imminent.
"I've been a party to some of the changes that they're going to make, that they hopefully will be able to announce shortly, that we are hopeful will get them back on track."
The commissioner said almost the same thing when asked about Toronto during last year's call.
While he did not mention any bold moves, he said he believed the team was on track under then-manager Aron Winter. "Well, I certainly hope so," Garber told the media conference call last November. "And I have faith in MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment) and believe that they'll figure this thing out."
MLSE and Winter parted ways 10 games into the 2012 season after the team went 1-9 and opened with nine straight league losses.
TFC averaged 18,155 fans a game this season to rank 10th in the 19-team league (the league average is 18,807). MLSE recently announced it was rolling back prices for existing season ticket-holders to 2007 levels.
Garber was more positive about Montreal (12-16-8), calling the expansion Impact "an instant success."
"This is a very passionate soccer-loving province up there in Quebec," he said. "This has been a great expansion move for us. We're proud of our three clubs in Canada and we're really pleased with the success north of the border."
In 2012, the Vancouver Whitecaps (11-13-10) became the first Canadian team to make the playoffs.
The Whitecaps averaged 19,475 fans a game compared to 22,772 for Montreal, whose numbers were boosted by spending time at Olympic Stadium before Saputo Stadium was ready.
-- The Canadian Press
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 27, 2012 D4
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