Toronto FC: 5 Biggest Names That Flopped for the Club
By far, the best part of living anywhere near Toronto is that there is always something to complain about in terms of sports. Let's face it, Toronto clubs have all been rather pathetic over the past decade or so.
With the introduction of Toronto FC into the fold came another avenue to scrutinize, examine and complain about.
MLS is a growing league, and with the introduction of David Beckham and the Designated Player Rule, each team has sought European talent to strengthen their side.
As you will soon see, not all of these European imports live up to their pedigree, name or price tag. Here are the five biggest import flops in TFC's young history.
Julian de Guzman
Although he's not European and actually a Canadian born just outside of Toronto, Julian de Guzman was Toronto FC's first designated player signing. With too high and rather twisted expectations from Julian, he has never lived up to the demand in Toronto.
Having played in both Germany with Hannover 96 and Spain with Deportivo La Coruna, Julian was expected to command the midfield, score in bunches and lead this team to glory. Sadly, Julian fits none of these roles.
Julian has and always will be a ball-winning midfielder. He is definitely an above-average MLS player, but his yearly earnings of $1.86 million is a poor allocation of both his talents and position.
Seeing off-the-field troubles, including missing curfews, his attitude has not helped to mask his on-the-field struggles.
Julian has definitely not turned heads during his time here in Toronto, but he is the only one on this list still active with the club. Now more then ever, he has the potential to change opinions of those who have yet to be satisfied by his play.
Teaming up with Torsten Frings in the center of the park should allow Julian to focus on what he is good at: winning balls and letting other players distribute and build up play.
Whether he turns around his game or not, he is a far too expensive piece to Winter's squad for what he can provide. Ideally, Toronto will be looking to rid his DP status at the next opportunity.
Alen Stevanovic was a player brought in on loan at the beginning of the 2011 season. This low-risk loan move turned out to also be low-reward.
Jointly owned by Inter Milan and Torino, high hopes were placed on Stevanovic. Having played only 12 games for Toronto FC, Stevanovic did not register any goals before an abrupt end to his loan that saw him recalled by Torino.
Stevanovic never lived up to the expectations placed on him; he was oftentimes selfish with the ball, and in his limited chances at goal, he demonstrated a poor finish.
Stevanovic shouldn't be remembered by what could have been in Toronto, but instead as what should have never happened. Between the lack of quality and abrupt end, Stevanovic was a definite bust in T.O.
* Just to update on the status of Stevanovic: Alen has recently been linked with a move to Manchester United. With a price tag of seven million, I just can't see this happening for the "Serbian Ronaldo".
Rohan Ricketts is sadly most remembered as a blogger here in Toronto. His section entitled Rollin' with Ricketts is sadly the biggest impact he made.
Despite being a very big fan of Toronto and a great personality, Rohan Ricketts never worked out in Toronto.
Ricketts is one of the journeymen of soccer and has played just about everywhere. He is a great example and warning that pedigree does not equal success in a lower league. Having originally been an Arsenal youth, he actually had 30 caps for Tottenham before a long list of loan spells.
In Toronto, Ricketts showed an ability to handle the ball and beat a man. However, that is the extent of his positive play.
Again, things were expected of Rohan that just weren't possible, and in the end, an under-performing international is a vital waste to any MLS side.
Although Rohan will always be remembered here in Toronto, it won't be for his performance on the pitch.
In 2008, Laurent Robert was a late addition to the squad, reuniting with former Newcastle coach John Carver. Robert build his career and reputation around his set-piece mastery. For this reason, Robert was a welcomed addition despite being in his 30s.
Early in his time in Toronto, Robert impressed in what he had always excelled at—set pieces. His only MLS goal came from a free kick outside of the 18-yard box.
After this game, Robert more or less fizzled. He couldn't handle the pace of the MLS, and his ability on set pieces wasn't great enough to mask his ineffectiveness. Eventually, he was cut and waived from the side before the season's end.
Robert was likely a bust because of his age. However, he was important for TFC fans simply because he was the biggest name that Toronto had attracted up until this point.
Miguel "Mista" Martinez
And the wiener is...
By far, the largest flop to be seen at BMO Field was Mista. This Spanish striker came very late in the 2010 season from Deportivo. A side desperate for scoring looked to this former Spanish international to produce.
Having a fairly successful career in Spain, Mista came to Toronto as the club's second designated player. Earning $968,000 for only nine total games with Toronto, this Spanish striker cashed in quickly with the Reds.
Mista was slow, out of shape and downright frustrating to watch. Again, he too was over-hyped and crashed and burned in the MLS.
Not much more can be said for this player, as his time was so limited that one could probably count his touches on the ball with two hands. By far, Mista was the most overpaid underperformer Toronto fans have had to put up with.
Certainly, Toronto has seen its fair share of failure. There could have been a long list of absolute disasters who have dawned the TFC kit.
Dishonorable mentions go to:
Who is your biggest TFC disappointment? Have your say below.