Toronto FC dropped another bombshell today when they parted ways with head coach Ryan Nelsen. Initial rumors of Nelsen’s firing were reported by the Toronto Sun, and later confirmed by GM Tim Bezbatchenko.
As it turns out, the entire coaching staff was fired in Toronto, and Greg Vanney steps in as coach. The firing comes a day after Toronto suffered another loss at home, this time New England, by a score of 3-0. Post match, Nelsen showed his unhappiness with Bezbatchenko and his comments that called out his club earlier in the week. Nelsen proclaimed that his GM’s comments “absolutely” did not help, and further questioned the media’s disapproval of his teams season, saying “Are you guys kidding me? Ten games left in the season… long way to go.”
Well, that rant may have been the final cut to an already thin string of hope. Nelsen is now out before the end of the year, which started with so much optimism after TFC acquired Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley, among others. Now the 5th place club in the Eastern Conference (2 points ahead of New York) will go through the final 10 games, and any post season games, with an interim coach. TFC academy director Greg Vanney now takes charge with hopes of keeping the Reds in playoff position, but they could do so without Jermain Defoe.
More potential shock waves could be sent around the MLS world as Bezbatchenko also announced that TFC were mulling an offer for Jermain Defoe. Newly promoted QPR of the Premier League offered $11 million for the striker, who would join former coach Harry Redknapp if transferred. According to MLSSoccer.com, Toronto are “in talks” and are “speaking with [Defoe] and we’ll make a decision.” Bexbatchenko also added that this is “not to say that he’s departing.”
What a stunner this could be, if Toronto sell Defoe they could find themselves starved for goals. Defoe has scored 11 goals in 16 games, and could have had more if he could stay healthy. The Reds have won 3 of their last 13 games, and without Defoe (who will already be out until September) they could see that drought continue.