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  • So... who's Toronto FC's new captain?


    ccs-3097-140264008572_thumb.jpgPlenty of heads are still spinning (some may be rolling) following the announcement that erstwhile TFC captain Dwayne DeRosario has been traded to New York... but the MLS season moves relentlessly forward, with the Reds' next game coming on Saturday afternoon against Chivas USA.

    DeRo's departure has produced plenty of questions, with an obvious one being "Who's going to be TFC's new captain?" Somebody's going to wear the armband on a regular basis going forward. So I ask, Canadian footie fans, who's it going to be?

    [PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]Here are, in my mind, the leading candidates:

    Stefan Frei: By virtue of having to incessantly yell at often-disorganized, occasionally-incompetent defenders for three years, the 'keeper has emerged as one of the team's true leaders. This is to say nothing of the fact that his actual performance has, on countless occasions, gained points that the Reds had no business earning. The TFC faithful perpetually muse about the possibility of Frei heading off to Europe, but for the time being, the team could do much worse than handing the armband to its #1 goalkeeper.

    Julian de Guzman: Surely this would cause its share of outrage amongst the Reds fans who feel his signing has been an unmitigated bust. But presuming JDG can get back to full health, he could be poised to change a lot of people's minds under Aron Winter's new tactical system. And hey, nothing would ease the transition into the post-DeRo era like handing the armband to another Canadian international midfielder from Scarborough, Ont. who, for large portions of his career, has had funny-looking hair.

    Nana Attakora: Many still call him "young Nana", but the only remaining original TFCer is not only the longest-tenured member of the club, he's also grown into being an integral part of its on-field success. He's got plenty working against him, of course: He still is young (22) and comes across as a rather soft-spoken lad, which may not be conducive to the whole "rallying the troops" aspects of the captaincy. But I do distinctly remember a game last season in which he angrily barked directions at another defender for almost the full 90 minutes... Garcia? Hscanovics? Usanov? It's all a blur now.

    It's unlikely Nana would get the designation... but hell, he's probably got a leg up on his partner at centre back:

    Adrian Cann: He did wear the armband on several occasions in 2010, and was named the team's MVP at season's end. Then again, that selection was regarded by some as an attempt not to convince the actual MVP (DeRo) that we was worth the extra money he was seeking. And, of course, there's the little matter of Cann's own contract-related walkout during the 2011 preseason. Hell, if they gave him the armband, he may try to flip the thing on Craigslist, so this would be a hazardous choice.

    Maicon Santos: Well, he's featured prominently in TFC's marketing material this year. Then again, that's probably because he's one of the only recognizable returnees from previous seasons. And hell, he's Brazilian, so that's gotta be worth something, right?

    Dan Gargan: See my previous comment on the matter.

    Elbekay Bouchiba: He's never played a game for Toronto FC. But he's 32 and Dutch, so perhaps Winter believes he can fill that leadership role. Plus he played in Qatar for a while, which is a valuable connection to have in international soccer these days.

    Javier Martina: Yeah, why the hell not? He scored two goals against Portland, everyone likes him, he's got big hair. And he's Dutch which, as we've been led to believe recently, means he's awesome at everything related to soccer, forever and ever.

    Chad Barrett: ... ah, shit.

    Jim Brennan: Considering he was nursing 42 different injuries during most of his first go-round as TFC's captain, there's no reason that "age" or "retirement" or "inability to run" should preclude him from giving it another shot.

    Nobody: It worked for the Maple Leafs for a while. But, of course, it wouldn't work in soccer, since the captain performs the all-important, irreplaceable in-game function of... uh... calling the coin flip?

    Stefan Frei, to me, seems like the most reasonable choice here. In fact, I'd be surprised if anyone other than him or de Guzman gets the nod. But Winter and company don't seem particularly beholden to sentimentality, so I'm sure they'll select the team's next captain based strictly on well-thought-out, practical criteria.

    Or they'll draw straws.

    What do you think?


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