2 Sep 2014

Nelsen sacked as Toronto coach

12:41 pm on 2 September 2014

The former All Whites football captain Ryan Nelsen has been sacked as the coach of Toronto FC, a day after making comments critical of the club's general manager.

Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen reacts after a play on the field.

Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen reacts after a play on the field. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Major League Soccer franchise fired Nelsen and his entire coaching staff in the wake of the New Zealander's public dressing down of GM Tim Bezbatchenko.

The official announcement was made at a news conference at 8am this morning (NZ time).

Nelsen declined to go into reasons for his dismissal.

Local media claim the club wasted little time removing evidence of the New Zealander.

Photos of the coaching staff that hung at the team's north Toronto training facility were gone this morning, although Nelsen's empty parking space still bore his name.

The club's Academy Director Greg Vanney was named as his replacement.

The 36-year-old Nelsen leaves with a record of 15 wins, 26 losses and 17 draws.

None of the seven coaches before him notched more wins.

Nelsen, in his second year at Toronto's helm, was one win away from matching Toronto's franchise high of 10 victories, with 10 games to go.

But in the wake of Sunday's 3-0 loss to New England, he put himself in the firing line after lambasting Bezbatchenko at the post-game news conference for telling reporters on the eve of the game that the team had to do better.

Bezbatchenko had told the media he was challenging the club to "step it up a notch" ahead of their fixture with New England.

Nelsen didn't take kindly to the comments, and when asked after the 3-0 loss if the challenge helped his side, he fired back. "Not at all, absolutely not."

He then went into a semi-tirade, criticising Bezbatchenko for going to the media with his challenge.

"It affected the guys," said Nelsen. "What we do at Toronto FC is we keep it in-house - everything we do, we keep inside the four walls. And the players, coaching staff, everything, stays within the four walls."

The Reds have 33 points (9-9-6) from 24 games this season which puts them in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and in line for their first playoff appearance in franchise history.