"It was endearing to watch the entire Toronto FC team and front office staff congratulating one another on the field after Saturday's win over Chicago," writes Ryan Johnston. "But amid the festivities I held a silent vigil for a season lost."
Johnston says it was "excruciating" to think back on the points that Toronto squandered over the summer, spoiling the team's chances of a first playoff spot. The season's most telling stat was the "generous 12 goals surrendered in the final 15 minutes" of the team's games.
Examining where the fault lies, Johnston pinpoints leadership. "Personally I put a lot of faith in the concept of captains," he writes. "In Toronto the armband was bandied around this summer in an attempt to find a name ready to take its full responsibility. Jim Brennan wore it for the lion's share of the games with Welsh international Carl Robinson falling in line." The one time Marco Velez was given the role, he ended up red-carded for an unnecessary retaliation.
Never mind finding someone to score goals, he concludes, the team needs "someone to lead in the back. Scoring goals is only paramount if you have the mettle to make them stand up in the end."