Toronto supporters hoping Dutchman Aron Winter is the man to finally bring some stability to their deeply troubled club.
The front office released an exciting new lineup of fast food items to a media trial tasting down at BMO Field Thursday. Robert Bartley, executive chef and director of Culinary, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment has probablycome up with a league leader. But today, Friday, most people are interested in looking beyond the Pulled Pork and Texas style BBQ Beef Brisket to see if the semi- annual team shakedown event that opens the sides’ MLS home season Saturday, will be a tastier stew than the one served up at the 4-2 season opening loss in Vancouver last weekend.
Coach Winter is trying to install a new style, system of play, and club culture based upon a career of playing, coaching and living the famed Ajax Amsterdam club recipe in his native Holland. In the best of TFC traditions, the coach and his staff had not had much time to work on the transition, yet his tenure is sure to be critically measured by an understandably impatient home crowd Saturday.
The visiting Portland Timber is an MLS expansion team and they just might be the softest touch Toronto will see this season. Very few of the fans in the stadium will be content with anything less than three points regardless the circumstance surrounding the re-make fifth edition of the home side Reds.
Through the first four seasons of their existence, constant changes, major management gaffs, and constantly missing the play-offs has been the only thread of consistency running through this outfit. Head Coach number six, Winter and his staff insist things will be different.
He has made major lineup changes to prove it. Fourteen roster players are gone from last season. Only nine regulars were kept on. Two things are evident among the new additions. Winter is sticking to his commitment to involve TFC Academy in the development of his future team and a Dutch flavor in the approach to the game. Five young academy players now have roster spots and five Europeans – three of whom are Dutch – are now under contract.
That menu tasting yesterday? None of the fourteen changes have even the slightest of Dutch undertones. Come on Chef Bartley, 22,000 fans want to savor the Kibbeling?
Toronto supporters have seen it all before. Saturday afternoon at 2 they will be at BMO Field looking for results.