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Winter expected to arrive soon in Toronto
by Ridge Mahoney, January 3rd, 2011 2:38PM

TAGS:  mls, netherlands, scotland, toronto fc


[MLS] As interim general manager Earl Cochrane tried to sort out the Dwayne De Rosario muddle, reports out of Europe identified former Dutch international Aron Winter as the club’s new technical director and head coach.

Winter, an assistant coach on the Ajax Amsterdam staff, told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that he is flying to Toronto today to sign a contract. There’s been no confirmation from TFC. Winter, 43, played for Ajax, Lazio Inter Milan, and Sparta Rotterdam during a 16-year playing career during which he earned 84 caps for the Netherlands while playing in the 1994 and 1998 World Cup tournaments.

Where this leaves former Revs assistant coach Paul Mariner, who resigned his post as head coach of Plymouth Argyle last week, isn’t known. He’d been identified as serious TFC head coaching candidate months ago. In any capacity, he could give TFC a deep pool of knowledge and experience, both in the U.S. and abroad.

De Rosario arrived in Scotland the day after Christmas to train with Glasgow Celtic after Cochrane had categorically refuted rumors he’d be visiting the club. MLS and TFC have insisted he went without clearance for insurance purposes and other factors; Celtic officials have stated they were told permission had been granted.

MOVES. The club waived five players in late November, including Preki-era acquisitions Maxim Usanov, Raivis Hscanovics, Martin Saric and most notably, Spanish DP attacker Mista. None of them were especially impressive, and Mista ranks with Denilson as one of the all-time DP busts – along with Julian de Guzman, who is still on the TFC payroll – so at least there are plenty of roster spaces available.

TFC declined the option on defender Nick Garcia -- he passed through both stages of the Re-Entry Draft unclaimed -- and lost forward O’Brian White, who scored four goals in 33 games after TFC took him with the fourth overall selection in the 2009 SuperDraft.

One possibly vital piece of the rebuilding puzzle is midfielder Nathan Sturgis, whose emergence as a midfield starter and set-play triggerman coincided with a solid second half (10-2-3) of the season for Seattle. Toronto paid a rather high price for Sturgis, who was claimed by Vancouver in the Expansion Draft. TFC swapped its first-round pick (no. 8 overall) in next week’s SuperDraft, a selection that could have been used to patch holes up top or in the back line, where TFC’s needs are just as glaring as those in midfield.

GOOD NEWS. Despite the club suffering through another turbulent offseason, TFC announced Monday it has sold out its full-season ticket packages for 2011 and has begun selling partial plans.

OUTLOOK. Whoever gets the coaching job, he’ll need to sort out myriad problems on the field, such as De Ro, and regain the trust of the BMO faithful, who have already seen five head coaches in the club’s first four seasons.

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