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Summer Transfer Window Proves Tim Bezbatchenko is Learning

Instead of sitting back the man they call "Bez" did some patchwork on the flawed team he has built. As a result Toronto are far less likely to recreate last year's late season collapse.

Miguel Tovar/Getty Images

Last January Toronto FC gathered their chips and went all in. By acquiring Jermain Defoe, Gilberto and Michael Bradley they went on a spending spree that was heard around the soccer world.

By the time it was the summer, and the rest of the league had called their bluff, Toronto had very few chips left to play. Their only moves were bringing in depth players Dominic Oduro and Warren Creavalle. This relative inaction did nothing to prop up a team that was rapidly falling apart.

Why rookie GM Tim Bezbatchenko was so quiet back then can only be left to speculation. Maybe he knew that this team wasn't an easy one or two player fix, he didn't trust his coach or he was just too green to get something done.

Whatever the case, after once again making a massive wager during the offseason, Bezbatchenko proved that he had learned from last year's gamble. As this summer came around he had plenty of cards left to play.

The young general manager's action proved that he is learning on the job, and wasn't too naïve too see that the team he had constructed still were not complete.

His first order of business was the address the club's most pressing concern: an inconsistent, at times bordering on disastrous defensive setup.

The team's depth had been tested all year due with injuries to Mark Bloom, Ashtone Morgan's national team callups, Damien Perquis' suspensions and Steven Caldwell's injury induced retirement.

By adding Ahmed Kantari, Bezbatchenko checked off all the boxes that Toronto needed filled, acquiring an experienced centreback who could anchor the team's backline.

He was also able to add fullback depth by acquiring fullback Josh Williams after he was placed on waivers by New York City FC.

These moves had some Toronto supporters semi-sarcastically remarking aloud on social media "our GM is actually making acquisitions that address needs".

In fact the man they call "Bez" has always been pretty good at addressing the club's needs. He proved that by fixing the clubs biggest needs during the offseason: he brought in playmaker Sebastian Giovinco, centreback Perquis and holding midfielder Benoit Cheyrou.

There was one puzzling more this offseason, the club's acquisition of 33-year-old striker Herculez Gomez.

As a prototypical striker Gomez brings more of what Toronto don't necessarily need, and that is goals. With 37 goals scored Toronto are one behind the Columbus Crew for more goals scored by a team this season.

Scoring more goals is never an issue, but Toronto's main one has been keeping balls out of their own net. Toronto may be second in the league in scoring, but they are also third in terms of goals conceded so far this season with 38.

But while this move may not have been the best use of the money the club freed up by moving out Warren Creavalle and Bright Dike, it wasn't a complete mistake.

All of Toronto's goals so far this season have come from the same place: Sebastian Giovinco who has been directly involved in 73 per cent of them. If the Atomic Ant takes a game off, or god forbid gets injured, Toronto's goalscoring could evaporate.

Off the bench the combination of Luke Moore, Robbie Findley, Dike and Jordan Hamilton have only contributed two goals so far this season.

Gomez has never been an outstanding goalscorer by any stretch, with only 24 goals in his 124 game MLS career that ended in 2009 when he left to play in Mexico.

But he certainly fits the club's mentality, coming in with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove.

Ultimately, this transfer window can be summed up as a coming of age for Bezbatchenko, who was not willing to sit back and wait and see if the team he constructed was good enough to make the playoffs.

Instead he was proactive, pulling together plenty of options before finally pulling the trigger on Kantari and Gomez. As a result Toronto are a deeper and better team than they were before the summer.

Bezbatchenko has built a flawed team, but at least he has been able to see those flaws and is doing a decent job of covering them up piece by piece.

How these pieces fit together in the coming months will ultimately define whether or not the team he has built has enough substance to earn him real praise.