Toronto FC part ways with interim coach Javier Perez

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TORONTO – Javier Perez, who took over from Chris Armas as coach on July 4, will not be back with Toronto FC.

Perez started the year as an assistant coach but was named to head the team after enjoying a 1-8-2 MLS start to the season. Under the Spaniard, TFC were 5-10-8 and finished 26th overall in the 27-team league.

“We would like to thank Javier for his hard work this season,” Toronto FC President Bill Manning said in a statement. “He got into a tough spot and was a real professional in every way. We wish him good luck in his next endeavor.

The MLS club parted ways on Monday from Ali Curtis, general manager and senior vice president of soccer operations.

The moves pave the way for a new off-court leader, with veteran coach Bob Bradley seen as the main contender. Bradley, the father of Toronto captain Michael Bradley, split from Los Angeles FC earlier this month.

Toronto bounced back, at least initially, under Perez. The team earned a surprise 3-2 victory over New England in Perez’s opener at the helm and went undefeated in their first five games (2-0-3) in charge. But he remained winless in his next eight games (0-7-1).

The game continued and Toronto ended the season with a six-game winless streak (0-3-3) in the league.

Perez’s franchise seemed to grow as the season progressed, perhaps after seeing the writing on the wall regarding next season.

“I have mixed feelings, if I’m honest with you,” he said with three games remaining in the season, when asked about the team’s progress. . “Because I think about certain games, we (do) well. Sometimes we take two steps forward, one back, or two back, one forward.

“I don’t like to give excuses,” he added. “But every time something seems to have a positive click, we take a step back. This means that we have injured players, we cannot present the same starting lineup in the next game. All of these situations make it really difficult for the team to gain momentum and have some stability. ”

And after a 1-1 draw on October 30 in Atlanta that saw TFC fall behind when goalie Quentin Westberg messed up his footwork trying to clear the ball, Perez was direct.

“If we didn’t make that mistake – it’s a completely preventable mistake, like many others this season – tonight we would be talking about a win and not a tie,” Perez said.

“To me, it’s almost like arrogance,” he added. “Sometimes we have to be more humble and we have to simplify things for ourselves. “

Prior to joining Toronto in February, Perez spent four seasons as an assistant coach with New York City FC. Previously, he spent four years with US Soccer, as the head coach of the Men’s Under-18 team and as an assistant coach of the US Senior Men’s and Under-20 teams.

He was part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup men’s senior team in Brazil and the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup U-20 team in New Zealand. Prior to moving to the United States in 2007, Perez spent six years at Real Madrid as a head coach of under-nine to under-19 youth teams.

Several TFC players had known him from his time at US Soccer.

Perez provided stability after taking over, a steady hand on the rudder.

On the sidelines, he always came equipped with a notebook and a stopwatch. And before the matches, he was able to take advantage of the statistical and human strengths of the opposing team.

“I think Javi has done a good job since joining,” said fullback Richie Laryea. “He helped us win games. Coming home also helped. But he calmed us down and allowed us to start playing good football again at home in front of our fans.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 23, 2021.

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