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Toronto FC Top 30 Countdown: #23 Andrew Wiedeman

One of Toronto's most beloved players has left the team, but not before he makes an appearance at the 23rd spot in Waking The Red's Toronto FC Top 30 Countdown.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

There are many rating systems in which Andrew Wiedeman would undoubtedly rank top 10. "Sickest" flow, most active/entertaining twitter account, top TFC community service contributor, and most likely to have their option declined, all come to mind for our beloved former TFC striker. Unfortunately for Wiedeman, the rankings you’re currently reading rate the top 30 in on-the-pitch contribution to TFC in 2014… and in that context, Andrew Wiedeman is appropriately slotted in at #23.

In last season’s top "36", which is truly a testament to the absurd number of players who contributed to the forgettable 2013 TFC campaign, Wiedeman came in at a respectable #15, or 4th off the bench (again, appropriate). His 821 minutes played, 2 goals and 1 assist in 2013 were all solid contributions from a TFC non-starter. I personally added in my two cents when that ranking time came along, stating "He is as useful as his salary would suggest, which isn't a bad thing". And it was true, in 2013. He played in 14 games, starting 9, gave it his all everytime he was on the field, and added a handful of goals (when you add in the Canadian Championship) including the oh-so-memorable Crew-killer in the rain. He did just enough for a player who, well… was paid exactly that, just enough.

2014, however, was a different story. With two newly minted attacking DPs- world renowned finisher and media manipulator Jermain Defoe, and untested Brazilian firecracker Gilberto something something Junior coming in, Wiedeman very likely saw his window of opportunity quickly shutting with Toronto FC. In the first six matches of the season, Ryan Nelsen seemed to recall Wiedeman’s knack for coming off the bench and occasionally happening upon brilliant goal-scoring opportunities, subbing him on in the second half of four different games. In those measly 71 minutes of playing time, Wiedeman was predictably ineffective, producing zero goals and assists while registering only one shot on target. Shortly thereafter, Luke Moore was acquired from Chivas USA, further cementing Wiedeman’s inevitable departure from the city he had grown to love.

While his playing time dwindled down to nothing in MLS fixtures, Wiedeman managed to finally take advantage of some brief moments on the pitch as he showed Nelsen why he should be played more frequently when (our beloved Premiership partner) Tottenham Hotspur came to town for a friendly in July. As TFC supporters are well aware, Wiedeman can occasionally pop in a moment of brilliance and wow us with a perfectly placed finish, and he could also pull off a well-executed assist.

One goal and one assist against an EPL side should count for something… right?? Alas, ex-TFC gaffer Ryan Nelsen decided to side with the true TFC supporters in thinking that these friendly’s are but a waste of time, and Wiedeman never saw the pitch again while playing under the Kiwi.

But wait! As one window closes, another briefly cracks open (in what I can only guess is a desperate attempt to let out the TFC stank)- and Nelsen was relieved of his duties in late August of 2014. In comes Greg Vanney, and in a clear attempt at distancing himself from his predecessor, Vanney decided to not only allow Wiedeman to re-join the bench, but even brought him into another match! On September 3rd, Vanney flexed his strategically superior-to-Nelsen muscles, bringing on Wiedeman in a position where he would undoubtedly be more effective... that day, Wiedeman the winger was born- or re-born, as he had occasionally been played in that position in the past (most notably by the greatest MLS commentator in the modern era- and I’ll give credit where it’s due, I didn’t come up with that comedic gem by myself, I read it in the WTR comments section not so long ago). Vanney’s "Wieds the winger" experiment lasted all of 3 substitute appearances, allowing Wiedeman to play a full 19 minutes in 3 appearances between September 3rd and October 25th. To be fair, Wiedeman looked… remotely effective on the wing, breathing new life into the dwindling moments of those few matches. He was on for the end of the miraculous 3-2 comeback victory over Portland, and while he didn’t factor in any of the goals, his tireless work rate undoubtedly helped TFC maintain the momentum and secure the victory. Alas, when all was said and done, Wiedeman finished the season with a whopping 90 minutes in MLS game time, registering zero goals and zero assists. Even for a player making a base salary of $60,500 ($70,500 guaranteed compensation), "Apparently 110 minutes over the course of a season isn’t enough to warrant getting your option picked up". I assume Wiedeman was including the Tottenham playing time in that comment, because even in the Canadian Championship he only made one appearance, coming on during stoppage time of the leg 1 victory over Vancouver.

Normally I would end this article here, but I feel it doesn’t do justice to Andrew Wiedeman- he was a great ambassador for the team, a positive influence in the locker room, and a very entertaining presence on social media. I’ve always been a Wiedeman fan, and his appearances on All For One, combined with some of his social media posts this year, only added to his resume as an outstanding TFC contributor. As a TFC fan, a part of me quietly rejoices when I see players come in from outside the city (or even country) and really enjoy everything that Toronto has to offer. I also thoroughly appreciate seeing players selflessly give back to the community and become great role models for young children in Toronto. With that in mind, I’ll leave you with two more (in my opinion) brilliant moments from Wiedeman in 2014. The first is a tweet that caught me off guard in its authenticity, and the second is a segment of All For One that most of you have already seen. Enjoy it one last time- farewell Wieds, and best of luck in your future endeavors.