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MLS transfer window closes leaving Toronto FC fans wanting

Toronto FC set the bar for themselves a bit too high it seems as the transfer window has come and gone without the club adding the promised DP level attacking talent and instead shipping out well liked players and replacing them with potentially decent internationals.

Even Elmer can pick up the stink around these parts.
Even Elmer can pick up the stink around these parts.
Martin Bazyl Photography

No offence to Jonas Elmer, Alvaro Rey, Mark Bloom, or Manny Aparicio; they could prove to be quality additions that help improve the squad down the road, but this summer's secondary transfer window is going to be seen by the majority of fans as a rather sizeable disappointment.

The majority of that disappointment has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the players that the club brought in. They added cheap defensive depth in Mark Bloom on loan, they brought in quality to push Ashtone Morgan on the left side in Elmer, and they got a wide midfielder that they were in dire need of in Rey. Those are all good moves when you look at them in isolation and will be judged at some point down the road after fans have actually had the chance to see the players in action a few more times.

The problem starts with the players that Toronto sent packing over the past month. One can make a strong case for transferring Darren O'Dea to Ukraine since he was not going to take the needed pay-cut to be around next season so sending him out now was probably in the best interest of both parties. Danny Califf retiring was a black mark due to the way he was handled since his arrival but bringing that mess to a conclusion during the window was a good move on the club's part. Waiving Logan Emory was understandable if the club feel that Morgan and Elmer are both better options on the left side. Even letting go of Terry Dunfield earlier in the summer can be justified based on the amount he was making and the fact that he was clearly behind Matias Laba and Jeremy Hall on the depth chart.

The deal that is proving to be the real sticking point for fans was the move to trade Luis Silva to DC United in exchange for some of that MLS funny money. The move was initially justified as being in the best interest of both parties since by the end of the window Silva was going to have a hard time earning minutes since the club was going to add two new attacking players in his position. That song changed last night during the AS Roma friendly though as Kevin Payne instead suggested that trading Silva was a move to help make space for Jonathan Osorio to play in a more central role and keeping both of them did not make sense for the club.

The players heading out of the club included a number of fan favourites and that was never going to go over smoothly with the fans. That is part of the business and it all would likely have been forgotten had the club made a splash with the players they brought in.

That is where problem number two with the transfer window comes into play. The club dropped talented players who fans liked and added some small parts that no one had heard of prior to their name being linked to the club. All the while, Payne seemed to take every chance to tout his big plans to any media member willing to listen to him. There were promises of 4-5 players including two DP level attacking talents. On top of that their was also Tim Leiweke talking about his plans to help the club land a David Beckham level signing and the bar was being set rather high and now it seems that the club have just walked right under it with little to show for all that big talk.

In the coming days Kevin Payne will likely point to the fact that the club worked hard to try and sign a number of big name talents. The fact that the club was heavily linked to Diego Forlan and Maximiliano Moralez in the media will likely play a big role in providing him a ready made excuse to fall back on. They were going after big targets but came up short which proves that they were at least trying to back up the big talk.

Payne will also likely point to the fact that the closing of the window does not mean the club is unable to make any further changes to the roster. After all, they can still sign players who are not currently under contract and make trades within MLS up until the roster freeze which is not until September. That will likely be followed by a reference to a player that they might still be able to sign which we will all know is Maximiliano Urruti regardless of whether he drops his name or not this time around.

That next interview will also include pointing to the moves that the club did make and the fact that they shed a lot of salary over the past few weeks and are now in much better shape to improve the squad moving forward. They made a few nice additions to the roster and the team is getting better. Mix that in with a bit of back-pedalling on the big talk and he might just be able to spin it as a successful transfer window.

In fact, it might very well have been considered a successful transfer window if all you did was judge the team on the moves that they made. The squad is probably stronger now than it was at the start of the season and there's no doubt that they are in better shape to make improvements going forward with the likes of Califf and O'Dea off the books clearing a fair bit of cap space.

Thanks to TFC's history of failure the bar was set quite low heading into the transfer window. If the team had managed to make a few small improvements it likely would have been enough to please the majority of fans. Then Kevin Payne had to go ahead and open his mouth raising the bar to a height that they could never reach.

It seems that after nearly a season in charge of the club Kevin Payne has made it clear just what kind of Club President he is going to be. While other teams delivered with signings like Alexander Lopez with the Houston Dynamo, Gabriel Torres with the Colorado Rapids, and even Clint Dempsey with the Seattle Sounders fans in Toronto got to deal with a lot of big talk from Kevin Payne.

I guess at this point we should probably just get used to it. Broken promises and empty big talk just seem to be part of the way that Kevin Payne goes about his business.