Hurry up and wait
On TFC's off-season
I get it. It’s frustrating.
As a fan, you want to new things to be excited about. It’s fun to talk about them. They give you hope that things can be better and that there is reason to believe that your team is ready to finally make this year the year.
So, I appreciate that this is where TFC fans are coming from when they yell at the clouds about the team’s lack of signings this off-season. There is no doubt that this has been the quietest of all off-season for the Reds. They haven’t added anyone, actually. Other than to give some academy kids some more responsibility.
Promoting academy players is something that fans say they want, but don’t actually get excited for. Signing an unproven 18-year-old from Colombia will result in 4,000 word think pieces; promoting Ralph Priso gets a shrug and silent judgment about the fans being too cheap.
Let’s put that inconsistency in thinking on the shelf for a second and instead focus on the higher end of the roster. There, what’s particularly gotten to TFC fans is that there is still a glaring hole of a DP slot that remains open.
This is the first year since 2013 that the DP slots weren’t filled (or staring in the Belgian league for just a little bit longer) at the start of a season. That fact, combined with a general feeling that MLSE is always looking for a reason to go cheap (which is based on the fact that MLSE was cheap(er) under its previous ownership group, not actual evidence now) and that Bill Manning and Ali Curtis have indicated that they want to better utilize the academy, leads fans into a spiral of negativity about the lack of action so far this off-season.
I say this with love: Chill.
This is not a normal off-season. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but there’s a global pandemic happening. That’s made for a slow market everywhere around the world, including MLS.
Note that I say MLS here. That’s because it’s not just TFC that’s not making signings. No, the whole league is lagging. The biggest moves that have been made this off-season have come from internal league moves. And, I suspect most TFC fans would only be modernity more excited if Kevin Molino was signed here. I can close my eyes and see the “I hope that’s not all they are doing” Tweets right now, actually.
In terms of the “big” off-season moves from outside the league we have the following:
Chivas’ Eduardo López came in on loan to San Jose. That’s a decent veteran add. Seattle added a journeyman Brazilian in João Paulo. LAFC addressed its defensive vulnerability with Jesús David Murillo. Well, hoped it did. He’s a bit of a roll of the dice. Atlanta added a guy with one name – Lisandro. He’s 38, but still. And…well, you get the idea. It’s been mostly guys like that. Some of them might pan out, sure, but nothing earth-shattering.
The only truly exciting add this off season is the young Brazilian, Brenner. He had the interest of a lot of European teams, but FC Cincinnati swept in to get him.
TFC fans can feel jealous of that signing if they like, but they’d then also have to recognize that Cincy was kinda at their Jermain Defoe moment of their history – they had to do something to direct people’s attention away from the smell.
In a year where we’re all sick and tired of having to wait for the good things to come back it’s not a message you want to hear, but…
You’re going to have to wait for TFC to realistically bring in a player of note.
They will though. They absolutely will. Hopefully right around the time we can all see him play at BMO Field again.