After reaching a deal late on Saturday night, Manning and Curtis met with Armas in person on Sunday to make their decision – a touching reunion for everyone involved.
“It’s just very difficult because you see a man who is a good man and who would do anything to get wins for this club, but it just wasn’t happening. And that’s when, again, as the manager of this club, you have to make some really tough decisions, ”Manning said. “The fact that he stood there and looked us in the eye and hugged us before he left, and thanked us for the opportunity, tells you so much about who he is.” . “
Manning said Toronto’s struggles can be attributed to the main players being unable to adjust to a new tactical scheme after years of playing in a different way under Vanney, who now runs the LA Galaxy.
Defensively, Manning said Toronto FC “lost goals” and were “too soft”. A strong defensive core has been a critical part of Toronto FC’s success in recent years and it was sorely lacking in 2021. TFC have conceded 27 league-high goals in 11 games.
“You can’t win when you concede more than two goals, three goals a game,” Manning said. “And so certainly, we have to consolidate things defensively. For me, this is the most important thing. “
Armas’ tenure will also be remembered for a breakup with Jozy Altidore, which led the star striker to train on his own for more than a month. Curtis said he had conversations with Altidore and his representatives last week and that he plans to speak to him again on Sunday night.
The GM also discussed Altidore’s situation with Javier Perez, who was on Armas staff and will lead the team against the New England Revolution for Wednesday’s game (7:30 p.m. ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN + ), although a decision on a regular interim coach has yet to be announced.
“Sure, we had the game on Wednesday, but the next game will be on the 17th,” said Curtis, general manager of Toronto. “I don’t want to say anything until I have a conversation with Jozy, but once we have these conversations with Jozy, then we can give you a better update on what the next game will be like.”
It’s also possible that their next home game will be at BMO Field, Manning revealed. He confirmed that the club will return to Toronto to train after Wednesday’s game at Gillette Stadium and that they will no longer play home games at Exploria Stadium, home of Orlando City, in the future. Canadian MLS clubs have set up a camp in the United States due to travel restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think there are good discussions, and things with the pandemic are going in the right direction, you are seeing more and more things opening up,” Manning said, while also mentioning that a location of US-based backup is in place, but not finalized. “I think the protocols we have in place to host games at BMO Field are very strong. And I hope we can. Next week will be really important to finalize these discussions and hopefully get a positive decision to that end. “