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Toronto FC Top 31 Countdown: Number 8 - Milos Kocic

Given the chance to make the number one position his own, didn't really take it, instead ended with the same beaten down look Stefan Frei developed. At number 8, it's Milos Kocic

You do it to yourselves, you do.  And that's what really hurts.
You do it to yourselves, you do. And that's what really hurts.
Jonathan Daniel

Average Ranking: 6.41
Highest Ranking: 2
Lowest Ranking: 17

Duncan: 6 At the end of the 2011 season, Milos Kocic was legitimately being talked about as a rival for Stefan Frei's number one job, so impressive had he looked towards the end of that year. In stark contrast to the hangdog look that Frei had before he went down injured, Kocic was fresh and much more decisive looking, though he benefited from playing behind a Torsten Frings reinforced defence.

This year, when Frei was harshly dropped after one game, Kocic stepped in and immediately had a great game in Los Angeles to clinch the semi final spot, beaten only by Ty Harden, and making several stops, including robbing Robbie Keane to keep it at 2-1.

There were plenty of saves made against Santos Laguna, a penalty save against Columbus, and of course, Eric Hassli's goal was the only one that beat him in 4 Voyageurs Cup games, a stat he certainly played his part in. It was a good start to the season for Kocic.

Obviously things weren't as smooth in the league as he regularly faced what was practically a shooting gallery thanks to the defence that lined up in front of him. This save against Chivas comes after what is a prime example of why Paul Mariner went with a more basic approach to getting the ball out of defence, an awful giveaway. This sequence of 3 saves in about 15 seconds demonstrates how that new strategy didn't always work well. The home game against New England is a perfect example of what Kocic was up against, as he made save after save after save, before eventually capitulating and letting in the injury time equaliser, deflected in by Richard Eckersley doing his usual thing of dropping back to try and block a shot rather than defending competently to stop the shot from coming in the first place.

It's all very symbolically summed up in this play where Kocic makes the save but gets injured by a boot to the face from Doneil Henry, all of which came from some shocking defending from Logan Emory,

It'd be easy enough to make this one long highlight reel for Kocic, any goalie that gets any time is going to make plenty of saves, but the season didn't really end well for Kocic, as the pressure eventually told. His on field body language quickly went from confident to angry, and eventually to the quietly despairing beaten down look Stefan Frei had last year. His post game interviews were often fraught with tension, refusing to throw his teammates under the bus, while failing to hide how angry he was at the whole thing, here's a classic of the genre.

It told on the pitch as well as mistakes crept into his own game. There was the goal CD Aguila scored where Kocic cocked up a simple save from a free kick, knocking the rebound in front of goal for a tap in. With the off field distraction of his new born triplets surely not helping, Freddy hall ended up taking most of the time in net towards the end of the season.

His worst moment though came right at the end of his last game of the season, with TFC looking to hold on to at least a point from a game in which they deserved 3, Maicon Santos' shot was stopped but only knocked into the path of Salihi who scored the winner.

I think it's unlikely he'll be back next year, with Paul Mariner making it very clear Stefan Frei's his number one and the salary he deserves probably not being in TFC's plans to pay a backup keeper, so the lasting final image of him as a TFC player will be him, in bright pink, holding his hand up after that goal, admitting that that last one was his fault. That's a damn shame, despite his downturn towards the end, he deserves better, I wish him the best of luck wherever he ends up next.

Dave: 7 When Frei went down injured again early in the season Kocic was the one who stepped up to soften the blow. He had his share of mistakes over the course of the season but more often than not he did everything he could to keep Toronto in games. His playing time dropped off towards the end of the season thanks to the birth of his triplets keeping him away from the team and allowing Freddy Hall to get a few starts in.

Michael: 8 A+ for standing in there most nights.

John: 10 Held his own like a President's Choice product until being replaced by a less than No Name product.

Kristin: 4 Stepped up for a good chunk of the season. He's not Frei but he could be a starter on another MLS team. Think Mariner did him a disservice in the last part of the season.

The Yorkies: Yeoman's work in goal and a passionate attitude. Fertile too.

The Ghost Of TFC Future: I remember my first real memory of Kocic was in the 2011 Champions League home qualifier versus Real Esteli, where he let a simple shot that was rolling wide slide under him and to an opposing player for a goal. My last memory of Kocic was letting a shot from Maicon Santos slip under him and out and to Salihi for the game winning goal.

In between, he sat in the shooting gallery that is the TFC defensive area. He saved points for us on a few occasions, but has really never been given the support he deserves. Hope they raise his salary, now that he has three more mouths to feed.

Jon Spratt: An unenviable and thankless task holding down the fort behind a shambolic, at times, backline.

Casual Soccer Fan: Did well stepping into the #1 role.

DichioTFC: Long perceived to be equal to, or better than, Stefan Frei, Kocic finally had his opportunity to be TFC's number one and earn himself a lucrative long-term contract. Unfortunately, he did not produce. The gaffe at home against DC United, where the boys in red deserved three points for a change, led to his downfall in a club that was already emotionally drained. With the season now over, and not content to be a backup, Kocic (or 'Cock-itch' according to the CONCACAF announcer) has major decisions to make in his future professionally. Ultimately, of all TFC's players, Kocic will be the one who has the fondest memories of 2012, as his triplets were born and are thankfully now all doing well and resting at home. The proud papa would be welcomed back next year at TFC, just not as a starter or for much more beyond his league minimum contract, a deal that will likely not be suitable for the long-time Red.

Prizby: Kocic was a true warrior who always let his feelings be known, especially in interviews. Known to give up the odd weak goal, Kocic went through a whole season as the number one, underpaid for the job he was doing, and never complained about it (publicly), while welcoming the birth of triplets (two boys, one girl). I have a lot of respect for what he was able to accomplish this year, even if he is likely on his way out.

MCB: Great on difficult saves; not so good on routine ones.

Sir Alphonso Applegate: Milos had a solid year. He is a good shot-stopper but has poor decision making skills when coming out of his net for crosses. Reminds me of Milan Borjan actually.

Ignirtoq: Did an outstanding job for a back-up keeper. If Flimsy Freddy is truly supposed to be the #2, I hope Kocic and his family arrive safely with a big honkin raise at his new club.

Shel Soze: On field attitude needs to be adjusted

JC_Plante: Was consistent, but had lots to do. Might be slightly over-rated at this point. But still a starter in the league.

Panos Kelamis: Can’t fault the new father of three, but he is a backup in this league and as the goals starting flowing past him, he lost some of his confidence

David Kent: Good at times, good on crosses but needs positional work.

Number 7: Ryan Johnson

Number 9: Darren O'Dea

Full Top 31 Countdown