By DAN KARELL
There will be a new man in charge of Toronto FC for the rest of the 2014 season and beyond.
Saturday evening’s 3-0 defeat to the New England Revolution was the final straw for Ryan Nelsen, who has been fired as TFC head coach. The club confirmed the move on Sunday afternoon, with general manager Tim Bezbatchenko also announcing that the rest of Nelsen’s coaching staff had also been fired, and Greg Vanney has been installed as Nelsen’s replacement.
“I believe in the group of players we have here at Toronto FC,” Bezbatchenko said in a club-issued statement. “This is a group that we know is capable of winning and it’s our job to put them in a position to be successful. Our recent results have fallen below our expectations and a change was needed. Greg is a person that possesses all the qualities that align with our vision for Toronto FC.”
Nelsen publicly criticized Bezbatchenko following the defeat to the Revolution, claiming that Bezbatchenko’s comments for the team to “pick it up a notch” weren’t helpful.
“Not at all. Absolutely not,” Nelsen told SportsNet.ca. “I’ve played in some hot pressure games. One thing I do know is that this was not one of them. It affected the guys. What we do at TFC is we keep it in house. Everything we do we keep inside the four walls. Everything stays inside the four walls.”
If the reports are true, the firing ends Nelsen’s nearly 19-month stint in Toronto. Nelsen was surprisingly appointed by former manager Kevin Payne and struggled in his first season in charge, going 6-17-11. This past offseason, the club received a huge injection of talent, including signing three Designated Players in Jermain Defoe, Michael Bradley, and Gilberto.
However, the trio and the rest of the squad sit in fourth place after 24 games, with a 9-9-6 record, a -4 goal differential, and a number of poor performances.
What do you think of this news? Surprised to see Nelsen fired? Did you think he would be given the rest of the year? Did you think they should have fired him sooner?
Share your thoughts below.