By Ben Knight Onward Soccer
Help from above
The first step, always, is to admit you have a problem.
Ten games into the season just past, acting Toronto FC president Tom Anselmi fired coach/GM Aron Winter, tossed all the keys to Paul Mariner, and finally admitted to himself that the biggest anchor holding back ye goode shyppe TFC was a brutal lack of soccer-savvy leadership.
There were many options available at that point, but all the twelve-step programs agree on the need to surrender your addiction to a higher power.
And yesterday, with the hiring of D.C. United founder Kevin Payne as incoming president and general manager of Toronto FC, that’s exactly what Anselmi did.
The higher power in question wasn’t god or the universe, however. In the end, solving the problem fell to the real and ultimate owners of this baffled, embattled franchise:
Major League Soccer itself.
Oh sure, the spin at yesterday’s presser was how much Anselmi and Payne admire each other, and what a great opportunity Toronto is for a man who built a franchise that has brought four MLS championships to the banks of the Potomac River.
But the obvious under current is that the league – with the unacknowledged urging of commissioner Don Garber – whisked Payne out of an ever-decreasing role in Washington, to sally north and show Anselmi and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment how the game of salary-cap soccer in Our Little League is really played.
All involved can thank their lucky stars for that!
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