Ryan Nelsen very much his own man.

regrets, I've had a few..... - USA TODAY Sports

My latest for Sportsnet looking at Ryan Nelsen and what some of his personnel decisions tell us.

Every year, given out at one of the early home games is a fridge magnet TFC schedule, one of the few actually handy bits of swag that get given out over the year. There's usually a few players pictured on it as well as just the basic calendar, they seem to try for the popular, high profile players, and that often seems to lead to bad things.

This year's crop have already not fared well, and it's the perfect illustration of Ryan Nelsen's singlemindedness. Darren O'Dea, the captain, shuffled off over to the left back position. Ashtone Morgan, academy poster boy, Canadian international - benched. Stefan Frei, club icon ap Milos Kocic - benched, now seemingly trade bait. Kyle Bekker, much ballyhooed Kevin Payne draft pick, local boy - benched, often not even that. Add in Danny Califf, Julio Cesar, Terry Dunfield and the fact he's heavily using his contacts in Britain and a clear picture emerges.

Ryan Nelsen apparently doesn't care about the PR angle, and though you may not agree with some of his decisions, you might like those players he'd dumped, it's refreshing to see he focus is on being competitive and what seems to be a readiness to make decisions that don't exactly paint Kevin Payne's acquisitions in a flattering light.

If Payne can focus on the long term squad building, and Nelsen can be the strong coach, focusing very much on the here and now to get competitive while that squad building happens, then this might just end up being a very good combination.

Read the full article here.

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