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  • 2015 TFC season review: Part I -- What Went Right?

    Duane Rollins

    Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and someday, you will be a real boy.

    -The Blue Fairy to Pinocchio

    Let’s co-opt some 1940s children’s entertainment and put a 2015 MLS spin on it.

    Prove yourself brash, prepared, and unsentimental, and someday, you will be a real club.

    TFC might finally be following that simple formula. The Reds might be a real MLS club at last.

    They weren’t really before. TFC was its own type of disaster in a category that only Chivas USA shared with them (both teams even had Preki to thank for their most effective period of their history). It may seem a bit…unambitious…to list the “accomplishment” of becoming vaguely competent as the shining example of what went right in a season, but you have to remember how incompetent TFC was to appreciate just how important that step is.

    The Worst Club in the World ™ is now just a run of the mill MLS team. And, that’s good.

    This is not to say that management is perfect or that TFC no longer makes mistakes, but rather it highlights that the Reds no longer operate in a fashion that is in direct contrast with how every successful MLS team, ever, is/was run.

    Aspects of TFC are still poor. Some aspects are even atrocious. But the club no longer serves as a blueprint of exactly what not to do. They exist more or less in the same universe as the rest of the league.

    In practical terms what that means is that TFC fans can debate what specific tweaks to the roster composition need to be made, rather than pray for a massive philosophical shift in thinking.

    This is no way suggests that TFC is all that close to winning a championship. Rather, it’s to suggest that it’s highly unlikely they will slip back to the truly historically bad team it was from 2011-2013.

    However, there is one wildcard to play that might make that transition to champion easier. There isn’t a What Went Really Right category in the season review (because we ultimately judged the season to be unsuccessful overall), but if there was it could be summarized in one word.

    Well, one name: Giovincio

    It’s become a morbid parlor game among TFC fans to debate where the team would be without the Italian that will almost certainly be MVP. It’s a silly debate. They do have him. You cannot pick and choose what aspects of the season to evaluate in order to fit a narrative. You cannot ignore that TFC management identified Giovinco as a target, convinced him to come, negotiated to release him early and (by all accounts) made him happy here.

    Getting Giovinco is, by far, the best thing TFC has ever done. He’s maybe the best DP signing in MLS history (settle down, Impact fans. He’s 37. Talk to me after he wins you a couple championships – or Giovinco leaves -- and maybe then you’ll have an argument).

    Signing Giovinco allows TFC a window of about three years to figure out the rest. If they do – even a little bit – then the next chapter of this club might be a little more exciting than simply achieving baseline competence.

    Tomorrow – Part II: What went wrong?

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