Almost everyone in the Toronto FC community was thrilled when it was announced that the team had acquired Jermain Defoe and Michael Bradley, but Andrew Wiedeman and Jeremy Hall likely were not as enthused as others. The pair of incoming superstars were in direct competition with two players who had made their breakthrough into the league the season before. As a result neither of them played very much this season.
Today, both were deemed expendable by the club as Wiedeman and Hall both saw their options declined and will now look to find a new home in one of the bazillion drafts that are set to take place in the next couple of months. They are the first two moves of what will be a busy offseason, but one that hopefully does not see the type of turnover that the past has brought.
It's easy to say that most won't be broken up about losing these two players, as there were always going to be better options on the field. But Toronto FC have certainly just lost two good men. Both of them were committed to the club, its fans and the community. Sadly this combination has not been incredibly common.
The player's stat lines, on the other hand, indicate to some degree why they are leaving the team. Andrew Wiedeman has often been lauded as an excellent finisher who pots goals whenever he gets the opportunity. This theory was aided by the memory of a brilliant goal scored late against the Columbus Crew last season that remains one of the few shining moments in the club's history. But it's pretty hard to claim that 4 goals in 36 matches, 16 of them starts, indicates lethal finishing ability.
Jeremy Hall largely fell victim to depth this season in the centre of midfield. All of the moves Toronto made saw him behind Michael Bradley, Collen Warner, Jonathan Osorio, Kyle Bekker and even Bradley Orr for a little while at the start of the season. The midfielder was a solid defensive player who certainly deserved the bulk of the 47 starts he got in Toronto over the past three seasons. But he only had two goals in 57 total matches he played in, thus not really fitting the new offensive midfield Toronto seem to be trying to construct.
Both saw their minutes decrease exponentially this season as new players were brought in to fill their roles. Wiedeman only played 90 minutes accumulated between 7 substitute appearances. His best moment of the season was the club's friendly against Tottenham, where he led a second half charge to bring the team level. Hall had two starts and made an appearance in a third match as well. He spent time during the season with the Wilmington Hammerheads.
As per usual, there were a number of parting questions that the players were asked, and there responses were fairly interesting. For one, neither of them took shots at Jermain Defoe, despite a perfectly good opportunity. Most have assumed that the responses about the Englishman have been manufactured by media training, but it's starting to seem like they might actually be genuine.
Another revelation was the fact that Andrew Wiedeman felt that Ryan Nelsen didn't train them hard enough, something that changed when Vanney took over the reins. This is surprising, especially considering the apathy the team showed during large stretches of the season that ultimately cost them the points required to earn a playoff berth.
There is still a chance that the players could return to Toronto FC next season. If they get through all of the drafts they could re-negotiate their contract with the club. But it is fairly unlikely, especially since, as aforementioned, the team is looking to make improvements in both of their positional areas.