Average Ranking: 11.18
Highest Ranking: 7
Lowest Ranking: 16
Dave: 9 Reggie Lambe, or if you prefer his formal name Reginald Thomspon-Lambe, was the first wave of the Bermudan influx at Toronto FC. He was signed prior to the start of the 2012 season after failing to really make a name for himself in England where he had played for Ipswich Town and Bristol City. He arrived at TFC with a lot of talk about blazing pace and not much else being known about him.
Over the course of the 2012 season Lambe did have some moments where he showed the ability to beat his man on the dribble, fire in a decent shot, or swing in a good cross but more often than not he left many frustrated with how little he managed to do on the right side of the field. Calling Lambe a one in six type player may actually have been just a touch generous from Mariner as it was a rare occasion that Lambe had a truly impressive game.
That is not my way of saying that Lambe was a terrible player this season but rather that his really good games were quite limited. The positive was that even when he was not at his very best he still did somethings well and unlike Joao Plata, fellow one-in-sixer, he didn't completely disappear.
Lambe started the year as a bit of a fringe player for Aron Winter despite making a substitute appearance in the opener against the LA Galaxy. His first start of the season came in the home opener against the San Jose Earthquakes. He went the full 90 minutes in that game but was one of many TFC players who seemed to struggle with the cold windy conditions. His chalkboard for that game is quite bad looking as he ended up being tackled and losing possession 12 times while only completing 2 of his 9 crosses.
He would follow his first start up with substitute appearances against the Montreal Impact and on the road against Santos Laguna. His return to the starting lineup came against Chivas USA where he would play another 90 largely unproductive minutes. He was tackled and lost possession 20 times in the game, only completed 19 of his 36 passes, and connected on just 1 of 10 crosses in the 1-0 defeat.
Then came his sixth appearance of the season, another start, against the Chicago Fire. It was in this game that Lambe finally decided to announce his arrival and he did so with a bang notching his only 2 MLS goals of the season in a losing cause. His first goal came when he gathered in a Sean Johnson punch and set up for a right footed shot which he blasted into the top left corner from just outside the box. That goal was certainly one of the best scored by a TFC player this season but he was not done there. He would follow up that 36th minute effort with a second tally just four minutes later when he was well placed to smash home the ball at the back post after it had deflected off Matt Stinson. It wasn't just the goals, he's all over the first half highlights, an absolute menace.
That match was probably the highest point of his season as most of the year he went back to being a player that turned the ball over too frequently and had a poor conversion rate on his crosses. That basically made him your typical TFC player this year though as much of the campaign was marked by too much wastefulness on the wings and too many poor crosses.
He may have done all his MLS scoring in that game against Chicago but he did manage to play a part in Toronto's Voyageurs Cup win. He scored the first goal in Toronto's 2-0 second leg win over the Montreal Impact when his shot skipped past Donovan Ricketts in the opening minutes of the match. He would follow that up with his biggest goal of the season against the Vancouver Whitecaps when his 83rd minute strike proved to be the difference in the Canadian Championship. He would continue to build on his cup scoring in the CONCACAF Champions League by scoring two of Toronto's five goals in a romp against Aguila.
In the end, Lambe logged a solid season making 27 MLS appearances along with being a regular in both cup competitions. He was also one of the rare players who was able to find regular playing time under both Winter and Mariner over the course of the season. It seems that his season would have him in good position to return for 2013 but it remains to be seen what sort of role he will fill.
With Mariner being so keen to knock Lambe for being inconsistent, he is still only 21 years old, it would seem likely that he will take on a smaller role next year but unless someone is brought in that is an upgrade on Lambe fans will just have to hope he spends a bit less time playing FIFA and a bit more working on his crosses.
Duncan: 11 One in sixer. Paul Mariner nailed it with that description of Reggie Lambe. He occasionally looked good, that game against Chicago being the obvious example, with some other goals mixed in through the season, and even in those games he didn't really do much, he'd usually do something, look exciting or dangerous at least once. He never got it together on any consistent basis though, and the ‘Rohan Ricketts 2.0' tag seen in the comments below fits very nicely (hey Ricketts scored two against Chicago as well didn't he?) on him, though he's obviously not quite as relentless a self promoter.
Despite Mariner's disowning of practically every player signed before he officially took the reins, Lambe was clearly one of Mariner's boys. From the pictures of Mariner down in the Caribbean sealing the deal, through to the anguished ‘it really pisses me off' that accompanied that one in sixer description at the townhall, there's enough signs that Mariner likes him that he'll be back next year, and I'm ok with that. Ideally he'd be coming off the bench, though I'm saying that about a lot of people, if he has to be one of the benchers that gets the first team action, well it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
There's not much reason for this, but fans of irony, enjoy the following statement from Paul Mariner about Lambe, shortly after he signed in an interview with Kurt Larson.
I don't think the (English) Championship really suits a player of his abilities. He's very quick, very technical ... If you watch many (Championship) games it's generally kick-and-run sort of stuff. I think the way that we play will suit his game much better.
Michael: 16 Couple of beautiful goals, that's about it
John: 11 I had this guy all wrong, he's a workhorse.
Kristin: 7 Best tweeter ever. If only for puzzling the meaning of his patois some days. I'd rank him higher - but he was such and up and down player. Some days he lights it up, others he's mystifyingly ineffectual. But the Bermudan pipeline should stop with him.
The Ghost of TFC Future: Quick, sometimes able to pull a nice move and even chipped in with a couple of goals. But did very little for long periods of time. He'll be back next year, but I'd much prefer to see him as a late-game impact sub who could run at tired defenders.
The Yorkies: If only for his amazing patois Tweets. A decent piece of bench strength on a good team. So a starter here.
Jon Spratt: Showed signs he can become a fixture in the lineup on the right side.
Casual Soccer Fan: On some games, off some others. Is he worth $62K and an international slot?
DichioTFC: One of the club's surprise stories in 2012, Reggie Lambe was inconsistent at his worst, but inspirational at his best. Driving runs and well-placed shots, Lambe was a sight to behold. He quickly earned a place above Nick Soolsma and kept his spot, playing in 27 matches. A defensive liability at times, he is better suited to a bench or rotation role, but he could have earned himself a starting role in 2013 if the TFC cupboard remains bare on the wings, or if Plata refuses to return. If he continues to improve, the Bermudan just might become interesting trade bait.
Shem: Got played a lot this season and sometimes I wonder why.
Prizby: Lambe had some very excellent games, like the one against Chicago in April, but inconsistency, a small injury problem, and the inability to influence games for long stretches of time often saw him as a substitution causalty after 60 to 75 minutes. He provides pace and versatility (remember the game he filled in at right back after a red card). Hopefully, he elevates his game some more next year into a consistent starting role.
Sir Alphonso Applegate: Rohan Ricketts 2.0. That's all I can say about that. Has upside cuz he's still young but sometimes he seems like he's one step away from playing in Goa India like his doppleganger.
Ignirtoq: I like his moxie. Unafraid to drive forward and try to create SOMETHING, ANYTHING when the side lacks so much creativity.
JC_Plante: Feed the Lambe, feed the Lambe, feed the Lambe and he will score! Well, Maybe.
Panos Kelamis: Speed to burn, but then again he is a footballer from Bermuda, so about what I expected.
David Kent: Don't get it. Very few bright spots, some potential, too weak.