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TFC turfs Preki and Johnston after disappointing season

<span id="ctl00_bodyData_ctl04_TopsUI_Body">In the end, the decision came swiftly - but not nearly quick enough. </span>

In the end, the decision came swiftly - but not nearly quick enough.

Tuesday, at a hastily assembled press conference, Toronto FC announced that their Director of Soccer Operations, Mo Johnston, the man who had helped build the club from day one, was being relieved of his duties.

Caught in the wake of that decision, TFC head coach Preki, not even with the club for a full season, was told he would be joining Johnston on the first train out of town.

In a season where the team chronically underperformed, and the MLS playoffs and CONCACAF Champions League were slipping away with every giving day, it was clearly a decision that needed to happen.

But the question, one that many were asking yesterday, was why it hadn’t come earlier.

Since he took the front office job three years ago, Mo Johnston buried the team in poor, reactionary decisions and a mountain of bloated undeserving salaries. In another league, where the salary cap was larger, moves like paying Carlo Ruiz $460,000 or Pablo Vitti $303,000 might have been missed, but in MLS, with its tight restrictions and even tighter purse strings, the moves (dozens of them) stood out as untreated, festering blemishes.

While Johnston, at times, demonstrated an uncanny ability to navigate the maze of MLS roster rules, holding more than one team’s feet to the fire in shrewd moves -- think Chicago Fire and Brian McBride --, the revolving door of players (80 plus in four years) never really addressed the needs of the team.

Flashy signings like Jeff Cunningham, with his decade of goals, and Rohan Ricketts, with his pedigree, masked that (
up until this season when the team was re-made in Preki’s image) Toronto never really had clear direction.

But the club is starting fresh today. The men charged with leading the team in the interim, Earl Cochrane (Director of Soccer Operations) and Nick Dasovic (Head Coach), are both classy, capable individuals. Getting out from under the mess of unneeded salaries in the off-season will be mission number one. But the road for them and for TFC won’t be an easy one.

Three years ago when he took over, Mo talked about a legacy and a five-year-plan to success. He may now be gone, but as the team re-builds once again, that legacy, one of questionable decisions, will undoubtedly be felt.

Thankfully, for Cochrane and crew, it doesn’t take five years of planning to find success in MLS – just a few smart signings.

 
 
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