Payne says more changes coming, playoffs still realistic

{eot} Staff
5/21/2013 4:09:19 PM
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Following his team's fourth straight MLS defeat, Toronto FC president and general manager Kevin Payne maintained he has confidence in the ability of the club to make a playoff push and said fans can expect "several acquisitions" who will be "among the best players in the league" around the July 15 summer transfer window.

Speaking Monday on TSN Drive with Dave Naylor, Payne said his squad has been competitive in every MLS game – just like he said it would be upon his arrival -- but has made simple mistakes at pivotal moments that have resulted in lost points.

"We have been in every single game in MLS," Payne said. "We have managed to find a unique series of ways to shoot ourselves in the foot, but I actually don't think we've been outplayed in a game yet this year."

Payne said he understands the frustration of the team's supporters, who have yet to witness a home win at BMO Field this season, but said he thinks the club is close to turning things around.

"I understand that there's frustration, I don't blame them for being frustrated. Our fans deserve better than this. I do think our fans, while they're very frustrated this year with the group, I do think they recognize the improvements that have been made in the attitude, in the cohesiveness of the group, the fact that we've been competitive."

Despite sitting 11 points outside of a playoff spot, Payne is confident his team will find a way to battle for a post-season position.

"I do believe by the end of the season we will be in the conversation for the playoffs," he said. "We've dug ourselves a bit of a hole, but I think that we will with a win or two we'll be able to crawl out of that hole rather quickly,"

With just one win in its last 25 MLS matches, Payne admitted there is a confidence issue within the team and said management is conducting an ongoing evaluation of the team to find out which players from the previous regime will remain with the club.

Despite undergoing a massive off-season overhaul which included more than half the 29-man roster being overhauled, more changes are in the offing.

"We have to get some better players," Payne said. "This team for the prior two years was not good at all and part of the reason for that was that it didn't have the right players."

According to Payne, the top priority will be an attacking midfielder, "someone in the middle of the park to pull the strings for us."

Besides someone in the middle of the filed who can create offensive opportunities for both himself and others, Payne mentioned he would also like to add an attacking player out wide and a defender.

He said the lack of results have been discouraging, but he is encouraged by how the players have bought into Ryan Nelson's philosophy and followed the instructions of the coaching staff.

"It's a little frustrating, I know the players are frustrated, but I'm more heartened than disheartened by how they've responded to the things we've asked them to do."

Next up for Toronto FC is a visit to New England to take on the Revolution, the team they currently sit directly behind in the Eastern Conference.


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