Toronto FC has known many a great player over these past 10 years. Despite the mediocrity of Toronto for most of its existence, many great players have proudly donned the scarlet, white and grey (and salmon that one season) over the years. The infamous names of De Rosario, Dichio, Brennan, Guevara, Dunfield, Frings and Koevermans have all secured spots deep within the cockles of my heart, and I'm sure many of you feel the same way.
However with the good, there was also bad, a lot of bad. So much bad that I suffered many horrible flashbacks as well as deep emotional and psychological trauma while compiling this list together. Going back in time and seeing these names again has even caused me physical pain and has most definitely taken away a piece of my soul forever. Anyways here's my list of Toronto FC's worst ever signings.
(#10) Miguel Aceval
Total Club Appearences: 10
The signing of Miguel Aceval during the 2011-12 off season was seen as an excellent move by former head stooge Aron Winter. The then 29 year old centre back was in the prime of his career, coming in a month off of his first cap with the Chilean national team and a solid 11 year run in the Chilean Primera Division. Unfortunately Aceval, along with fellow South American Geovanny Caicedo (who?) came in to camp out of shape(fat), and lacking the sharpness and focus required by standard MLS defenders. He wasn't always garbage (see his equalizing freekick against Santos Laguna), however, any good done by Miguel was certainly negated by THAT Houston incident, which shall not be spoken of due to its cringeworthyness.#9)
(#9) Carlos "El Pescadito" Ruiz
Total Club Appearences: 5
I like Carlos Ruiz, I really do. Despite being notorious in MLS for diving, flopping and generally being a dirty bastard, Ruiz has a knack for goal scoring like no other. Hell, he's still finding goals even today despite being 36, scoring 40 goals in 70 appearances for club CSD Municipal in his native Guatemala and he currently sits with the second highest goal scoring record in FIFA World Cup qualification history, despite his nation never making a World Cup appearance which is why when the Carlos Ruiz trade was announced in 2008, I was ecstatic.
The 2-time golden boot winner, 1-time MVP and former MLS champion was expected to bring in many goals for a Toronto team that desperately needed some. The Little Fish however, fell short, only making a handful of appearances under John Carver, never scoring once and eventually being released to make way for some guy named Dwayne something or other. To this day I wonder what a Fish/DeRo tandem in their prime could've done to MLS defenses back then.
(#8) Ali "don't call me Ali G" Gerba
Total Club Appearences: 13
Another striker with a dangerous reputation in front of goal, Ali Gerba came into Toronto with massive expectations. Having European, and Canadian National team experience, the Gerbster was supposed to jell well with Dwayne De Rosario and company to form a deadly duo up top. Instead what we got was a slightly overweight, yet somehow lighting fast Gerba who never could find the back of the net. His one season with Toronto was enough to effectively kill any future opportunities within Major League Soccer, which is almost criminal for one of Canada's greatest strikers.
(#7) Hogan Ephraim
Total Club Appearences: 12
Looking to get some minutes overseas, the former Queens Park Rangers forward was brought in on loan by Ryan Nelsen. The loaning of Hogan Ephraim and John Bostock seemed a brilliant move by Nelsen. They were both attacking type players and they both had high ceilings that were not yet reached. TFC fans were hopeful that the Englishmen would help solve some of their offensive woes in the wake of a complete team rebuild, or at the very least provide some depth for players like Robert Earnshaw and Bobby Convey.
Instead, we were massively disappointed. Apparently Bostock was a soccer player with only one foot, and Hogan, well I don't even know what he had. He was just sorta there. I know he played for Toronto a few times, but he rarely did anything remotely useful. He was so bad he couldn't even stay for his whole loan period.
(#6) Andy Iro
Total Club Appearences: 20
Speaking of disappointing Englishmen, number 7 on this list is Andy Iro. The ex-Columbus Crew player had the all the physical tools to be a top defender for Toronto, but he seemed to lack the drive or motivation to actually defend. At 6-foot 5, The Iro Giant was an imposing force, aesthetically speaking, but no one really ever payed him much mind.
Players were more afraid of Joao Plata than Andy, and rightfully so, Plata was aggressive like a mad pug, Iro not so much. Looking back, the trading of Tony Tchani for Andy Iro and Léandre Griffit (who?) may be one of the biggest bonehead moves in all of North American sports. Tchani would go on to become an elite defensive midfielder, earning his first cap for the USMNT last month. Iro would go on to be a name on this list. He's also a businessman now or something.
(#5) Aaron Maund
Total Club Appearences: 21
When Aaron Maund was drafted 12th overall by Toronto in 2012, I was just sorta like meh, I guess. Then I saw him play. My gosh was he terrible. Like just wow. Now, to be fair, it most likely was just the rookie hump he had to overcome but at the time he was just plain bad. I would've rather us played with 10 men on the field than have that guy, or maybe a training pylon. Nowadays he looks to be a heck of a lot better than he was, actually getting regular minutes for Real Salt Lake but he ain't no Cannavaro that's for sure.
(#4) Jonas Elmer "Fudd"
Total Club Appearences: 3
Yeah good ol' Jonas Elmer, remember that guy? Yeah neither do I. Signed by Kevin Payne in the summer of 2013, to this day nobody knows why. Legend has it that at one time, he was in Chelsea's youth setup and was said to be "promising". There were also tales of his skill with Grasshopper Club Zürich , but that was many moons ago. And my cousin knows a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy's aunt's brother that said the he was at one time a regular starter in the Swiss Challenge League but.....no those could only be rumors. For Toronto, the legacy of the mystifying Jonas Elmer will be remembered for taking up an international slot and a very generous salary.
(#3) Kyle Bekker
Total Club Appearences: 35
You knew it was coming, didn't you? Yeah you did. Unfortunately we all were blinder than Ray Charles when Kyle was drafted in 2013. During the reconstruction of Toronto after Hurricanes Aron and Mariner destroyed the hopes of TFC fans everywhere, 2013 looked to be a great year. A new front office (Payne), a new coach (Nelly), a new DP (Laba) yeah things were going good that year. Toronto even had the 1st overall draft pick in the Superdraft that year. But then we traded it for picks 4 and 16.
Well, at least we'll get 2 promising attacking Canadian players right? RIGHT??? No. Mere words in any human language cannot accurately describe or explain whom Kyle Bekker is. Or what he is. He simply exists, as an entity. Like gravity or in his case, a black hole. Funny story, true story, when Bekks was drafted, and I swear this is true, I told my friend that he would be the next Dwayne De Rosario. I don't make predictions anymore. (Editor's note: this is the guy who predicted Canada would make the World Cup in 2018).
(#2) Ahmed Kantari
Total Club Appearences: 13
So like, I hate to rail on this guy like a million other people already have, but it must be done. Signing with Toronto FC last summer, Kantari had the pedigree and experience to be great. Kantari had a PSG youth career, 10 plus years playing top level French football and had been capped to Morocco's senior squad 16 times. So why is he here? Maybe a bad season? Perhaps the transition of life in a foreign country? The rushed integration into a new league, team, and playing style? We will never know for sure, but someone needed to take the fall for last year's playoff atrocity, and it might as well be him. Ahmed Kantari was the hero Toronto needed, and deserved, but not the one it got.
(#1) Miguel "Mista" Ángel Ferrer Martínez
Total Club Appearences: 14
Here it is. The be all, end all worst signing in Toronto FC history. The decision of Mista was not one that I made easily. I went through thousands of hours of footage, statistics, google images, Wikipedia articles, etc, etc. to make this choice. But I also had to go with my heart and mind, and for me, I believe Mista to be the chosen one. The Cruz Azul game aside, in which he was fantastic, Mista was pretty awful as a Toronto player.
A striker with a lifetime of topflight La Liga experience, the Spaniard failed to score for TFC in league play, not for a lack of trying mind you. Playing alongside DeRo and former Deportivo La Coruña teammate Julian De Guzman, Mista should have destroyed Toronto's goalscoring record but instead fell flat, really flat. At the time 2010 was Toronto FC's most successful season. Had Mr.Mista panned out, the whole history of Toronto FC may have turned out entirely different. But we have Sebastian Giovinco now so it's cool.