[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Kevin Payne spent the first 17 years of MLS working for D.C. United or its ownership group. He lasted all of nine months as president and general manager of Toronto FC.
MLS's most experienced club executive left Toronto FC as part of the inevitable shakeup as the club suffered through another horrendous campaign and Tim Leiweke, the new CEO at MLSE, TFC's owner, asserted his authority.
Ironically, Leiweke had been Payne's boss at AEG when Payne ran AEG's soccer division during the brief period when AEG owned more than half of MLS.
“I’m disappointed, but this is the way this business works,” Payne told the Toronto Star on Wednesday.
Toronto FC is 4-12-10 with the second worst record in MLS ahead of D.C. United, the club Payne left after last season following the arrival of new co-owners.
Payne had cleaned house, hiring Ryan Nelsen, the former New Zealand international who had played at D.C. United before heading to England, as the Toronto head coach in place of Paul Mariner, and discarding as many players as he could on the TFC roster.
But few of the Toronto newcomers worked out, and Payne's foray on to the international market failed to bring in any big star -- Toronto was for a while rumored to be negotiating with Uruguayan Diego Forlan.
Nelsen is likely to remain in charge, at least in the short term.
More on the TFC management shakeup was expected to be announced soon.