An interview with executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. The answers are real, the questions aren’t.
NONEXISTENT REPORTER: “So, Tom. Can I call you Tom? Great. Let’s talk about Toronto FC. Yes, the team won a meagre round robin competition that landed them another semi-interesting berth in the CONCACAF Champions League, essentially just to keep the thought experiment that is playing in Japan against—what, Chelsea?—alive.
But despite the results, the underlying metrics are still the same. The team, which is supposedly aiming for a possession-based 4-3-3, is notching 40% on average, even in their win against Philadelphia. Yes, the team is producing a lot of shots, although you and I both know Tom that the only meaningful determinant of future success is the shots-on-goal ratio, which was good against the Union, you know, a crap team basically, but has been poor for the rest of the season, even in the Voyageur’s Cup.
Then there’s a pass accuracy that’s leveled out around 70%. 70% Tom! And it was 65% against the Union. That’s crazy for an Ajax specialist purportedly on a mission to bring the short-passing stuff to MLS! I mean, part of the problem is these players. You’ve got wingers almost chronically unable to bring the ball on the inside of the box. I mean, Joao Plata, what a shit show, amirite? Hope that was a great move for the fans, right Tom?
Then you’ve got Reggie Lambe on the right. He scored the goal that won them the cup thing, but you and I know that doesn’t mean anything. Dude attempted seven passes against Philly. Seven! And he started! I mean that whole “Every game is a cup match” thing was cute, but no way you start Lambe on the wing of a 4-3-3. That’s crazy.
I mean, no wonder Frings refuses to stay back as the central defensive mid, but basically he and De Guz are cancelling each other out, you know? One guy has to stay back, and neither seem to want to. I mean you and I know the problem really isn’t Henry and Cann back there, they’re getting exposed. And would it kill Ashtone Morgan to cross the half way line once in a while? Is TFC scared of attacking down the left? Jeremy Hall’s gonna get tired of pulling the load in attack, you know what I mean? But he kind of has to with Eric freaking Avila in front of him. So what’s your take on all this?”
TOM ANSELMI: “It feels better than it did two weeks ago and hopefully we can build from there.”
NONEXISTENT REPORTER: “Sorry, did you say ‘it feels better’?
TOM ANSELMI: “It’s been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde thing and I think at the end of the day we’ve just got to get down to business and start winning games and doing what our fans are expecting. The regular season in MLS is clearly a measuring stick of success. And, hopefully, this weekend was a start.”
NONEXISTENT: “‘Hopefully?’ You’re the guy who hires the managers and stuff, right?”
TOM ANSELMI: “At the end of the day, we’re in the job of trying to win games.”
NONEXISTENT. “Oh. My god.”