In Payne we trust, yes? Well sure, but does he have to take so many bold moves and make it this hard? This last couple of weeks has been like the book of Job, one long test of faith, with TFC fans playing the role of the long suffering Job.
Your coach? Gone, replaced by a rookie, who may or may not turn up in time for the season to start. Do you still trust Payne?
Your 1st overall pick, earned through many months of suffering and loss? Gone, sold 3 times over. What for? You'll never know exactly. In his place, the 16th overall pick, Emery Welshman, and the hope of something else to come. Do you still trust Payne?
Much like in the bible, at this point, I'd still say yes, after all though Payne taketh away, he also giveth, and though the giving hasn't really bore fruit yet, there's certainly arguments that Ryan Nelsen may well be worth the wait, that Kyle Bekker and Welshman could be viewed as steals a few years down the line, that the presumed large amount of allocation money could lead to good things this year as well, so sure, I still trust. Blessed be the name of Payne.
Of course Job's suffering wasn't over after just a couple of quick tests, and once the pre season is done, whatever other trials or reliefs it might bring, the regular season starts up, and that's probably going to be the biggest test of faith and patience, the equivalent of Job's dreadful boils. As the losses inevitably pile up, will you still trust Payne?
Job's story all ended well of course, his family replenished and riches doubled as a reward for his devotion. Is that where TFC will end up, with fans returning and trophies abounding?
If so, what's happened so far in 2013 will be crucial to any eventual success. How Ryan Nelsen performs as coach will be the biggest factor of course, but for this draft, TFC had the 1st and 3rd picks, that's the sort of thing that doesn't happen often and should have a huge effect on a team, how did we do?
The annoying thing is that we'll never really know for sure, as the amount of allocation money received for dropping 1st to 4th, to 10th, to 16th will never be revealed. Nevertheless, if some impressive signing comes down the line in the next months, it's a safe bet that the cash accrued today will play a big part in that. Given the amount of big contracts already on the club, the 3 DP's, Darren O'Dea, Richard Eckersley, probably add Danny Califf to that list as well, more allocation was needed. Payne said that he's swelled TFC's allocation funds by 75%, which again tells us nothing exact but certainly sounds good.
That can help us bring in a very good player now, rather than having to wait until next year when some of the big contracts expire. Who that player might be remains unknown for now, maybe the Arnold Peralta deal gets resurrected, maybe this is what Payne meant all along when he said 'Honduran Maradona' Alexander Lopez was worth watching in the draft.
But enough of that vague unknown future, there's 2 definite players that could end up being a big part of TFC's future. First up, with that 3rd pick, there's Kyle Bekker. Payne made all the noises you'd expect, that he was the man TFC would have taken first overall if they thought they had to. In this ESPN article, Payne said: "Technically he's very, very good," said Payne. "He's so sound technically, he can play quickly. But tactically, he's way ahead of anybody else in the draft, and his understanding of what's going on in the middle of the park."
Sounds good, and his performances for Canada at the Olympic qualifying tournament were very good as well. Whether he'll play a big part in 2013 remains to be seen, but given the age of TFC's midfield right now, combined with the lack of talent in the attacking midfield side of things, Luis Silva aside, there'll be plenty of available playing time in the future and he's got the skills to take it.
The other pick was the one that TFC got when they finally stuck rather than twisted with what was initially their number 1 pick, Emery Welshman at number 16, Bekker's former teammate at Sigma FC. He'd had a good combine, and towards the end of the first round was roughly where most experts thought he'd go. TFC wanted him, so going down to 16 made sense and it worked well. They got 2 players they wanted and a bunch of cash as well, a nice day's work really.
Payne could have played it safe, gone with the obvious pick, Andrew Farrell at number 1. Trust would have been maintained and even if it had gone wrong, well who could have blamed him, that's who everyone was saying would go first. He could have even chose to pick at number 10, when Eriq Zavaleta or Mikey Lopez were both surprisingly still available. It would have been easy to trust in that decision as well. Of course he could have played it safe by giving Paul Mariner time to try and win, after taking the risky route there, he made it a true daily double with today's decisions.
It'll be years before we really know if this worked out. Hindsight will tell us if Farrell, or Zavaleta or any of the other players TFC could have picked went on to be superstars while our Canadian picks didn't really work, and the guy they spent all the money on was a complete failure. Hopefully instead it will tell us that TFC turned those 2 picks into 3 or 4 lynchpins of the team. Who knows?
For now though, all we can do is trust that the gamble is worth it, that the shunning of the obvious and safe path will be shown to be the right choice in the end. You do still trust Payne right?