And while the ‘Armas Out’ chorus is undoubtedly premature, the question nevertheless remains: why is a squad that enjoyed such promising spells last season now drawing fairly consistent blanks under its new manager?
On the latest episode of Waking the Red Weekly presented by Footy Talks, Michael Singh and Jeffery P. Nesker get into it.
For Jeff, the problems may stem from a new tactical system hampering players that flourished under a very different playing style:
“What did I say that set you off (about the Orlando game?) That it was a shambolic mess? My one take away, with the benefit of time now, is that the thing that really bothered me was how hesitant some of the players were, Richie Laryea being the prime example.”
“I’m not ready to call it a regression yet, but I don’t like him being ponderous on the ball when he’s making those blistering runs down the flanks.”
“And I think that that may be indicative of the disconnect between his natural tendencies and the system that they’re trying to instigate.”
For Michael Singh, citing Auro Jr and Mark Delgado as examples, the problem is tactical, but it’s more a question of player mismanagement on the pitch. How can a team thrive if its best players are not deployed in their best positions?
“They showed a lot of fight and battle against Orlando, there just wasn’t that end product. Aside from the match against New York Red Bulls, the willingness to be up for the fight isn’t a question mark for me right now.”
“A lot of it comes down to tactics, to player usage, and are you doing what you can to get the best out of your players? A problem for me right now is that Chris Armas—of late at least—is trying to get his best eleven onto the field, but not necessarily putting them in the best positions to succeed.”
“A case in point is Auro Jr in the middle of the park. Now of course you want to get Auro Jr, Richie Laryea and Kemar Lawrence into the game, but are you really setting this team up to succeed if Auro Jr is playing central midfield? Are there not better options?”
“We’ve talked so often about how crowded the center of the park is for Toronto FC, and for me it’s kind of weird to see Auro Jr play there, especially because Jonathan Osorio was back.”
“I can understand when you don’t have Mark Delgado, you don’t have Jonathan Osorio - I can understand slotting Auro there into the middle of the park. It makes sense at that point.”
“But when you have both of those guys in your starting eleven, Jonathan Osorio is going to play the No. 10 because Poz is out—but Mark Delgado on the right wing? Again?”
"A problem for me right now is Chris Armas, of late at least, is trying to get his best 11 on the field. But he's not necessarily putting his best 11 in the best positions to succeed." @MichaelSingh94 on getting the most out of #TFCLive players @WakingtheRed pic.twitter.com/OCm4bPYDiq— Footy Talks (@FootyTalksLive) May 25, 2021
“What more do we have to see from Mark Delgado on the right wing to know that it’s not working? It’s been clear for years that Mark Delgado can not only succeed but be amazing in the middle of the park for Toronto FC. Especially with all of the work that he does.”
“Talk about TFC being a pressing team, a team that gets after people, that sticks its foot in for a tackle; that’s been Mark Delgado’s identity for years for this club. And right now he’s not being put in a position to succeed. There are other options that you have on your bench that you could easily play at right wing or right midfield.”
“I don’t think Auro’s been bad in the middle of the park, but I think it isn’t setting the other players up for success. Mark Delgado has become the person who’s had to vacate the centre. Auro hasn’t been bad but he doesn’t come with high expectations in the middle.”
“You don’t rate him the same as you would rate a central midfielder - you kind of understand that he’s a fullback playing centre mid, and you’re judging him off that. I don’t expect him to do all the work that a midfielder does, but as a fullback playing center mid I think he’s done outstanding - I just think there are better options.”
For everything TFC - check out the full episode of this week’s Waking the Red Weekly now, also available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify! Kindly like, rate, and subscribe!