If there is one notable thing about Toronto FC history it is how many bizarre and unbelievable stories they have been able to cram into not even 10 seasons. On a day where practical jokes and bizarre stories are commonplace, it is worth reviewing those that have helped define Toronto FC's short and unfortunate time in Major League Soccer. Here are six events from Toronto FC history that we wish were the butt of an April Fools joke.
Dwayne De Rosario Cheque Signing Celebration
In 2010 Dwayne De Rosario was enjoying his best year ever with Toronto FC, and the best single season any player has ever had in club history. With 15 goals and 3 assists in MLS play, and the award for best player in Toronto's second of four straight Canadian Championships, he had secured his place as the club's franchise player. However, he wasn't being paid like one and he made this readily known after scoring a goal against the San Jose Earthquakes. After scoring, he mimicked the signing of a cheque, essentially demanding a new contract. He only played a handful more games for the club, before being traded to the New York Red Bulls. The date of this trade?April 1st, 2011.
Toronto FC Fall "Just Short" of 2009 MLS Playoffs
2009 was the closest Toronto FC ever game to the MLS playoffs: one game. That game was played on October 24 of that year, away to the New York Red Bulls. Toronto needed a win to make the playoffs, instead they came painfully short. New York added insult to injury with five goals in a 5-0 rout that remains the biggest margin the club has ever lost by. The club came so close, yet was still so far.
Maxi Urruti Traded to the Portland Timbers
During 2013, Toronto FC were reported to be trying incredibly hard to acquire the services of a young Argentine striker by the name of Maximiliano Urruti. Urruti had a highly successful time with Newell's Old Boys in the top flight of soccer in Argentina. Considering the success several Argentinians have had with Toronto FC it was greeted with a lot of excitement when the club was finally able to acquire the player in the summer of 2013. He would only ever play two games, and 37 minutes, with Toronto. After the second, against the Timbers in Portland, they would essentially leave him in the dressing room as they traded him to their opponent shortly after the game. Urruti has gone on to score 11 goals and 2 assists in 39 appearances for Portland.
Stefan Frei failing to get his 100th Cap
For all the horrors, missteps and losses one player has been around longer than all others: Swiss goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Frei tops the list of most capped players in Toronto FC history, followed closely by Jimmy Brennan and Julian De Guzman. However he was never able to earn his prestigious 100th cap with the club, falling one short at 99 in all competitions. The club had several chances to give him an 100th, being well out of the playoff picture late in 2013, however decided to play Joe Bendik to give him "experience for the future". Frei has now gone on to be a successful part of the Seattle Sounders.
Hiring a Coach who was still a player
They say coaches are hired to be fired, but they usually aren't hired when they are midway through a season in the English Premier League with Queen's Park Rangers. That was the case with Ryan Nelsen, and why he was doomed from the start with Toronto. Kevin Payne decided that leadership would be enough to see Nelsen, who had previously played for Payne at DC United, become a successful MLS coach. The rest is history as Nelsen was fired midway through last season.
Three Toronto Players Get Arrested
The start of the 2012 season for Toronto FC was a joke in itself, and by mid June they found themselves with a 1-10 record. Things didn't get any better when three of their players decided to drown the losses with some drink in Houston, Texas. Nick Soolsma, Miguel Aceval and Luis Silva were all arrested for public intoxication. They were subsequently sent home by the team. Images of their mugshots released were definitely a black eye that the club didn't need during a period that was already one of the darkest in its history.
Nick Lindsay snowmobile Accident
This one isn't even worth joking about at all, as it effectively led to the end of the career of one of Toronto FC's most promising prospects. Lindsay was snowmobiling during the winter of 2011 with some friends and was thrown off, resulting in ACL and MCL injuries. This would essentially spell the end of his promising career, with both TFC and national team supporters left to wonder what could have been if it wasn't for that fateful day.