By Marco D'Onofrio
After an abysmal 3-0 playoff loss to their biggest rivals the Montreal Impact last week, Toronto FC held their final media availability for the year at their training ground on Tuesday.
While most of what was said was the typical fluff you'd expect from such an event, the biggest news to come out of the day was the confirmation that head coach Greg Vanney would be returning next season. There had been quite a bit of speculation that the tactician could be sacked after a disappointing playoff run, but new team president Bill Manning assured that would not be the case.
“I thought about the future of this franchise, the history,” Manning said on Tuesday. “We've never had [a coach] that's started two seasons in a row. Greg has coached 44, 45 games. The team has improved. He deserves the opportunity to continue what he started."
Vanney became Toronto's ninth head coach when the club decided to let go of Ryan Nelsen towards the end of last season.
“Sometimes it's easy to say, 'Fire someone,'” Manning continued. “But had I fired Jason Kreis, RSL wouldn't of had the history they have. And so I look at this scenario, and I find it very similar. With another season, with the group that we've built and fine tuning, Greg can be a very good coach in this league.”
The Reds finished in sixth place this year, and earned their first ever playoff berth. The postseason experience was short-lived though and after nine seasons, BMO Field has yet to host a playoff game.
"I was embarrassed as a president and a CEO," Manning said of the playoff loss in Montreal. "That's not something that is acceptable to me going forward," he quickly added.
Fans share similar feelings, but they've also heard this song and dance before. The real work now begins for Manning and his staff as they look to shore up a number of key issues that really hurt the Reds in 2015.
No team in all of Major League Soccer conceded more goals than Toronto did this season, with defense being an issue since the inception of the club. To make matters worse, TFC's current coach and their last head coach were both professional defenders.
It'll be interesting to keep an eye on the club during the offseason, as they continue to tweak their roster in the pursuit of fielding a successful team. They may not garner as many international headlines with big name signings like they have in the past two years, but consistency is important for this team moving forward and Manning made it clear that he understands that better than anyone.