A new year means a fresh start for Canada's MLS sides. With training camp just a few weeks away, Goal looks at the resolutions that each team should be making for 2014.
More power to the coach
Looking back at last year’s resolutions, it’s funny to note that several of the Montreal Impact’s issues and concerns mentioned at the time have yet to be resolved.
The problem of coaches being dismissed after only one season isn’t, however, a problem which dates back only to last season; it’s now an annually recurring issue. Frank Klopas, the Impact’s recently appointed head coach who replaced the fired Marco Schällibaum, will be the Impact’s fifth coach in only four years.
Jesse Marsch and Schällibaum were blamed by the club’s upper management for the Impact’s failures in their first two seasons in MLS, but it’s now abundantly clear that fingers must also be pointed above. There’s something inherently wrong with the way the club has been organized, and the fact that the Impact have had to make some directorial shuffling in the offseason is clearly indicative of that.
Impact coaches haven’t had much input with respect to transfers and off-field matters, but that Klopas was also given the title of “director of player personnel” may perhaps signal a shift in the way the club’s responsibilities are shared.
Whether anything actually changes remains to be seen, but change is certainly needed at Stade Saputo. The head coach needs to have a bigger role.
Strengthen the roster
The Impact are still relying too heavily on players well into their 30s, and they’re still weak on the flanks. With the departures of Alessandro Nesta, Nelson Rivas and Zarek Valentin, the back line is thin. The Impact have only two forwards in the roster and Marco Di Vaio’s going to need a better support cast; he can’t do it all on his own again next year.
With significant time and energy spent on addressing the coaching situation, the Impact have yet to make a new acquisition for next season. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, especially as plenty of teams in the Eastern Conference have already managed to bolster their squads.
Deliver on unfulfilled promise
Any TFC fan who has stuck it out for the franchise's tumultuous seven-year history has heard about the club's potential as a big market team. As it heads into its eighth year in MLS, Toronto has recently been putting itself into a position to finally realize some of that potential.
Of course, high-priced and big-name players brought buckets of promise with them in earlier seasons, only to disappoint in sometimes spetacular fashion. The Reds need to resolve to finally deliver to a fanbase starving for any kind of success, even if that just means a short playoff run.
Score more goals
It seems pretty obvious, given the simple truth that the team that scores the most goals wins the game.
But despite TFC being as good as its Canadian counterparts on the defensive end of things in 2013, it's even more glariningly obvious that the team's lack of goals -- just 30 in 34 regular season matches -- was its downfall.
New additions Gilberto and Jackson will help on the offensive side of things, as will Dwayne De Rosario and Jermain Defoe. Of course, the latter two actually need to be signed, but if and when that happens, any excuses for not besting last year's feeble attack will become immediately invalid.
The Whitecaps brought plenty of entertainment value to the table in 2013, but as interesting as the team's ups and downs were for the neutral, at season's end, the club found itself on the outside looking in come playoff time.
Despite a strong first two-thirds of the season for the second consecutive year, just as in 2012, once the business end of the season came around, the Whitecaps were nowhere to be seen, faltering miserably as the Western Conference's top clubs found another gear.
If Carl Robinson can achieve one thing for the Whitecaps in 2014 as the club's New Year's resolution, it should be to pick up points consistently throughout the season, rather than gather a bunch early and hope for the best as things go along, or start slow and then play catch up.