With the club teetering on the edge of an Eastern Conference playoff spot, Toronto FC management has fired coach Ryan Nelsen, reports The Canadian Press and Yahoo! Sports.
The reports also make mention of a “major shakeup” suggesting other changes could be made as well.
Just days ago, General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko told the media he was challenging the club to “step it up a notch” ahead of their fixture with New England.
Nelsen didn’t take kindly to the comments, and when asked after the 3-0 loss to the Revs if the challenge helped the club, he fired back. “Not at all, absolutely not.”
He went into a semi-tirade, criticizing Bezbatchenko for going to the media with his challenge.
“I’ve won this league, played in it for four years, been in the (English) Premier League for 10 years, played in a World Cup, Olympics,” said Nelsen. “I’ve played in some pretty hot pressure games. One thing that I do know is this [match with New England] was not one of them. It affected the guys. What we do at Toronto FC is we keep it in-house — everything we do, we keep inside the four walls. And the players, coaching staff, everything, stays within the four walls.”
Clinging to fourth place by just their games in hand, Toronto’s position is deemed unacceptable by management after a spending spree in the offseason saw them bring in USMNT star Michael Bradley and English international Jermain Defoe.
The offseason master plan seems to be falling apart, with rumors that Defoe could be headed back to England to join former manager Harry Redknapp at Queens Park Rangers.
The home crowd showered the team with boos at the halftime break, with Toronto down 2-0 after giving up a goal within two minutes of the opening whistle.
Nelsen, a New Zealand native, played in Major League Soccer for four years with DC United before moving to England for an eight year span that ended in 2013. He joined Toronto FC as manager soon after retiring,
Toronto has a midweek fixture at Philadelphia coming up before coming home with a rematch against the same opponent on the weekend.