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Aron Winter guarantees Toronto will make playoffs; I say “fat chance”

CORRECTION MLS Toronto FC Wrapup Soccer

CORRECTS NAME TO ARON WINTER, INSTEAD OF STEFAN FREI - Toronto FC coach Aron Winter speaks at a news conference in Toronto on Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. Calling it a tale of two seasons, Toronto FC players and coaches say the Major League Soccer team is headed in the right direction despite again missing the playoffs. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Neil Davidson)


Oh, it’s on! It’s me against Aron Winter.

Toronto FC’s increasingly embattled boss has done the guarantee thing. He is guaranteeing that his bungling bunch from BMO, the winless Reds, the same team pressed precariously up against historically barren season starts, will make the playoffs.

And that’s a real hoot.

I have an abiding respect for what Winter has accomplished in the game. I distinctly remember sitting at the 1994 World Cup quarterfinals, at the epic Netherlands-Brazil thriller, working out in my mind exactly how a Dutch 4-3-3 worked.

Winter played in that game. He scored in it for Pete’s sake. So, he clearly has a tremendous head start, and I know he’s an authority on the game in ways that I can’t be.

Then again … we all have strengths, weaknesses and blind spots. Or, perhaps this is just what Winter believes he needs to say. Otherwise he undermines team belief and risks creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think that’s probably the case.

Otherwise, here’s what’s going on: When he says Toronto is going to make the 2012 MLS playoffs, he’s found himself in one massive black hole of awareness, a dreadful place from which no light of cognizance can escape, apparently.

Because I guarantee that Toronto will not make the playoffs.

OK, there’s a bit of SEO hyperole there. But I will say this for the record: I have serious doubts that it can happen.

It’s not just that Toronto is awful – it’s how awful they are.

More to the point, TFC seems so distressingly far from figuring things out. There simply are not enough shovels, personnel-wise, to dig out of this hole.

Winter’s sounded completely tone-deaf Saturday when he said Toronto might need better defenders. Well, it’s not like these defenders landed at BMO in some random player draw. Winter and his men picked these DOIs (defenders of inadequacy). And they do have an opportunity, five to six times a week, to make them better.

There’s a real manager-player personnel disconnect, it seems, with players ill-suited for Winter’s Dutch style.’s Kyle McCarthy has an exceptional take on that, and on Toronto FC’s failures as they reach higher up the management and ownership chain.