May 8, 2012, 5:41 PM EDT
A very hot seat is still just a hot seat, so I’m at a loss to describe what Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter is sitting on. Maybe his chair’s become so hot that it’s cold? Like white hot, if that’s a real something. Once you reach 400 Kelvin, perhaps your nerves seer and you can’t feel a thing, like the constant boots in the derrière Reds supporters are using to coax their coach to the door.
Those kicks will come more often if Toronto can’t beat Montreal tomorrow. The teams drew 0-0 last week in Montreal and return to BMO Field for the second leg of their Canadian Championship semifinal. The winner will presumably face Vancouver, who won 2-0 at FC Edmonton (NASL) last week.
As Sportsnet’s John Molinaro notes, being asked about your job before every shift has to get old. For Winter, though, the answers remain the same:
Asked directly after Tuesday’s team practice if he felt his job was on the line based on winning Wednesday’s match against Montreal, Winter simply and confidently answered, “No.”
Does he remain confident that [Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment], the club’s owners, will remain patient with him and keep him as coach even if TFC loses to the Impact?
“Yes. Yes. But I don’t think we’ll lose tomorrow,” the Dutchman said.
Reflex one: What else is he supposed to say? Reflex two: Something less obstinate?
For all we know, though, Winter could be responding with complete sincerity. He may have had breakfast with President/CEO Richard Peddie and been assured his job was safe. “We know those defenders are bums, Aron,” my hypothetical Peddie says, assuring his man. “We have to do right by you before you can do right by us.”
So does some of the circumstantial evidence. We’re hearing about a lot of behind the scenes fissures, whether it be rumors of eyes not meeting eyes between the various front office factions or the need for clear-the-air meetings between players and staff.
The latter happened on Monday, according to Molinaro’s reporting. Eric Avila – Toronto’s best player thus far, and somebody who’s becoming increasingly outspoken – confessed the team was drifting. They needed a pow wow to refocus:
Midfielder Eric Avila suggested that a clearing-the-air meeting on Monday between the players and coaching staff has the club back on the right track, and that everybody is on the same page.
“Before the season started we had some sort of identity of where we wanted to go and once the season started we lost it a little. The meeting helped us out in a way where we’re back on track (and know) who we are,” Avila stated.
Check out John’s work for more on the alchemy TFC’s turning to for their panacea. Tomorrow’s fun kicks off at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
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