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Toronto FC 2013Top 36 Countdown: Number 23 - Terry Dunfield

Important and popular player last year, this year he got injured and the club moved on without him. No longer number 23 in your programme, but always number 23 in our hearts, at 23, it's Terry Dunfield.

'Who, Troy. Relax. I don't know what you're talking about, I didn't do anything'
'Who, Troy. Relax. I don't know what you're talking about, I didn't do anything'

Average ranking: 23.53
Highest ranking: 16
Lowest ranking: 34

Duncan: 21 2012 player of the year as voted by the team, Number 2 in last year's top 31 countdown, popular heart and soul type player, Terry F Dunfield seemed like he'd be an important part of the team this year, one of the few constants, a foundational stone amidst all the rebuilding comings and goings. At the very least he'd be a good depth option, a good guy to have around in the dressing room, but would he be able to build on his solid 2012 and cement a place as a first choice, first team regular?

He got a pay raise in the off season, going from $86,000 to $120,000 which still seemed reasonable for what he brings, and the off season brought him the chance to get another cap for Canada against Denmark, captaining the side, a nice honour for him.

With neither Torsten Frings or Julio Cesar making it out of pre season, Dunfield seemed like one of the few locks for a midfield spot, it was just a question of who else might be with him as the now traditional panic signings at the end of pre season happened. He did his bit in preseason among the trialists, scoring from the spot against Orlando and so it was he was right there to start the season in Vancouver. I thought he did well as the right sided midfielder, working well with Califf and Eckersley, especially in the first half as Vancouver seemed to focus their attack on that side, with little success. He did pick up a yellow card, for this clumsy tackle, more or less his only real moment of note, though in the second half when Vancouver were piling on the pressure, he picked up an 'injury' stopping the game for a couple of minutes so TFC could regroup (they didn't). Classic Terry.

He started all 4 of TFC's first games, with probably his best moment coming in the game in Montreal, the move that led to TFC's penalty, broken down in detail here. He also bothered Troy Perkins with a wilfully and antagonistically clumsy challenge, followed by the 'I don't know what you're talking about, I didn't do anything' hands in the air protestation as seen in the picture up top. Again, classic Terry.

All in all though, there's few moments that really stand out from him this season and probably the most important thing for Dunfield's season was what happened alongside him. Jeremy Hall, much maligned right back last year was played alongside him and did very well, not at all looking out of place. After Dunfield picked up a knee injury, though no-one impressed next to Hall, he did more than enough to keep his spot, and then when Matias Laba showed up, the two played quite well together and established themselves as the first choice defensive midfield pairing.

All of a sudden, Dunfield was surplus to requirements, and as salary cap space creating was the main theme for most of Toronto's season, his shiny new 6 figure salary was just too tempting and so, once the injury healed and he became fit enough to play, he was fit enough to be waived and that happened on June 13th. At least he was deemed important enough to get a bit more than just the basic statement we'd seen before, with talk of a difficult decision, one that was ultimately about finding minutes for young players.

Can Dunfield find minutes for himself anywhere else? As of yet he hasn't, being one of the alarming number of players called up for the current Canada squad described as 'unattached', though back in August he did pop up and train for a bit woth the Whitecaps. Curiously he did continue to be listed in the MLSPU player salary documents, at the bottom of the list with Paulo Araujo jr and Nico Moniz, no team but apparently still getting paid.  Perhaps that explains why he hasn't turned up on another team, he'd prefer to keep on collecting his MLS paycheque rather than move to a presumably smaller deal with another team. Or perhaps there's no other team out there that wants to take on an aging Canadian with a limited skillset at the best of times.

Either way, after what he did in 2013, this was an anticlimactic year for TFD at TFC, just one more name to add to the list of those about whom you think 'it shouldn't have ended this way'. One more player to show that a raise isn't necessarily a good thing in a salary cap world.

Dave: 28. TFD! What went so wrong here? Well, he got hurt and then somehow seemed to wind up sliding down the depth chart despite a lack of quality DMs. Sure the arrival of Laba was a good reason for his minutes taking a hit but falling below Hall and Russell is a bit of a shock considering Dunfield was probably one of the clubs best players just a year earlier.

Armen: 25. The tattoo'd Canuck failed to make an impact this season and was shipped off after an injury, kind of like his pal, Danny K.

James: 23. The ultimate warrior for this club, was saddened to see him go, the club spiraled without his heart out there - why Terry why?

Kristin: 21. I'm going to get pilloried for this rating, but although Terry (Mother Fucking) Dunfield is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet - really, he's super nice - I wasn't that upset when he left. Nor have I missed him - having Matias Laba will do that. A decent midfielder (and scorer of that goal against Van last year), never quite the link between the defense and the attacking players that was required. But if you want to have a drink and a chat with someone at the pub? Terry's your man.

a_miller16: TFC's 2012 MVP quickly fell out of favour and was released. I personally think he's a guy that TFC shoud have kept around. His leadership and experience were valuable and he was also a fan favourite.

Angus Chung: Can we have him back? Please? He can be the brawn to Laba's brain. Pretty please!?

Bruce Harding. I miss Terry Dunfield.

Ferantez All heart, poor technical ability, can't have that in the midfield in MLS anymore… he was surpassed by younger prospects.

Izaac: Poor guy. Everyone told him he was good enough know one wanted to tell him the truth(he sucked so bad)

Jon Spratt: Made for an easy scapegoat but he was certainly not to blame for the club's failures; like Eckersley, a victim of his salary doled out by the previous regime.

Josh Mote: The Chuck Norris of Toronto soccer.

Killinghurst: I miss Terry Fucking Dunfield!

Mark_HSV: Yep, Dunfield did play a bit at the beginning of the year. Probably would have been ok to keep, but maybe too expensive as a depth player.

Michaelvee: I may be alone in this, but I really like Terry Dunfield. More so now that he doesn't play for us, but he was a faithful TFC kind of player. Canadian, hardworking, not technically talentless, and released under uncomfortable circumstances. Like players who, again, never arrived.

Prizby: Terry 'Fucking' Dunfield as some coin him was brilliant last year and unfortunately had a contract too big to keep for this year; you can never fault him for the lack of effort, but it became apparent with the surprise 'arrival' of Osorio that Dunny was surplus to requirements even when our roster was 'stretched thin'

Red Wine Roz: Terry Fucking Dunfield. Heart of the team.

Schtevetown: It is hard to dislike Terry Hustle. People forget how highly regarded he was in his youth. Hope he can string out a bit more football in NASL or whatever.

The Yorkies: Not a bad f*cking word can be said. Even the sock tassels were endearing.

TimmerJ_75: Love the guy and great bench player, but not a starter.

Yohan: I think another numbers decision, whether to keep Dunfield or Hall as depth DM, and Hall won. Dunfield was likeable enough guy, but his game was limited.

Number 22: Justin Braun

Number 24: Ryan Richter

Full Top 36 Countdown