The year has dawned cold and blue out the vast windows of Onward!’s palacious East York estate.
The grass is snowy, but the broad boulevards on the far side of the Don are clear. The sun is low, the apartment buildings glow – and it is time to go to work.
Let’s kick off 2009 with a brief series of snapshots of where we are, and do some major discussing of where we would like to be.
Toronto FC nudges into its third MLS season, apparently moving forward despite some nagging questions that still hang significantly in the air.
1) Where’s Dwayne De Rosario?
The star attacking midfielder is deep into his third week of having been traded here from Houston, yet there are still no confirmed sightings of the creative, Scarborough-born attacking midfielder posing happily in public with a Toronto FC jersey.
Some of it, undoubtedly, is the glacial slowness of MLS transactions. Throw in the general shutdown of all things for the holiday season, and maybe all of this makes sense. But the ugly possibility of a grinding contract dispute continues to walk the night. DeRo could well and easily believe he is worth more than TFC’s budget can accommodate – particularly if there really is a Designated Player coming in, and it isn’t him.
2) Who’s the Designated Player?
This briefly ignores the deeper questions of why do we need and how can we afford a DP? GM Mo Johnston and head coach John Carver both proclaim the Reds need a big-name boost – apparently on top of DeRo.
We will apparently know the answers early next week, likely Tuesday. Roster cuts will immediately be needed to accommodate the whopping one-third of the ludicrously low $2.3-million salary cap going to DeRo and the DP. That could be eased somewhat if DeRo is the DP, but last year’s seven goals, two assists and 30th birthday don’t read like DP to me.
There’s an intriguing lack of significant rumours, too, which is notably uncharacteristic for this town at this time. The ideal situation – a happy DeRo and no DP – is still conceivably out there.
3) What about that sick, smouldering bomb crater in the centre of defence?
One rumour that has been tip-toeing about lately is that TFC may make a play for Canadian international defender Adrian Serioux, an original draft-day TFCer who was immediately dealt to Dallas for the false start known as Ronnie O’Brien. Serioux is rock tough and hugely intense, with the neat added detail that his throw-ins bear a delightful similarity to the speed, arc and distance of a Japanese bullet train.
His unappreciated Canada teammate Kevin Harmse actually turned in some good outings in the middle of defence late in the 2008 campaign, but can you imagine the two of them paired up back there for an entire season? I’d put the over-under number on red cards at six!
We’ll know the team’s answers to all these questions soon enough. In the meantime, let’s hear from all of you. Who’s coming in, fans? And how’s it going to work?