Jump to content

Toronto FC missing slew of players


Recommended Posts

Toronto FC missing slew of players

By Mark Polishuk / MLSnet.com Staff

Link from MLSnet

TORONTO -- With apologies to Carmen Sandiego and Matt Lauer: Where in the world are Toronto FC's players?

Three of them (goalkeeper Greg Sutton and defenders Adam Braz and Marco Reda) are in Maracaibo, Venezuela. The TFC trio and the rest of the Canadian national team will play an exhibition with Venezuela on Friday before heading to Miami for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Four members of the reserve squad (midfielder Cristian Nunez, defenders Gabe Gala, Nana Attakora-Gyan and Stephen Lumley) are in northern Ontario with the Canadian under-20 national team training for the upcoming U-20 World Cup. These four and Toronto forward Andrea Lombardo were all named to the U-20 team's roster for two exhibition matches against the United States on Sunday and Wednesday.

Finally, midfielder Carl Robinson is with the Welsh national team in Cardiff, preparing for a Euro 2008 qualifying game against the Czech Republic on Saturday.

It has all added up to a rather sparsely attended week of training at BMO Field for what is left of the TFC roster.

"You can count on one hand how many guys we've got," joked Toronto coach Mo Johnston. "The training has been very hard. We've been playing five-on-five, and we've been mixing it up, coming in earlier to stay out of the heat. We're monitoring the situation with the national team and the U-20s."

Johnston is keeping a positive attitude about his depleted roster. The TFC coach won 38 caps with Scotland during his playing career, and he realizes the importance and honor of playing for one's country.

"I'm always happy that guys can play for international games," Johnston said. "It's great for this club that we have so many youth internationals and full internationals. It bodes well as a start-up team."

It is an unfortunate time for Toronto FC to face a lack of depth. The club recently completed a stretch of five games in 15 days, and on Saturday will play host to a hot Colorado Rapids squad that is unbeaten (2-0-2) in its last four games.

"Hopefully Colorado will come in here thinking it's an easy game for them, but we'll be ready," Johnston said. "We're not complaining. We have our 12th man in the stadium and that's our fans."

The summer international schedule is hard for every MLS team, as MLS is one of the few major leagues that plays through the summer. TFC, which naturally has more Canadians than any other MLS club, is particularly hard-hit due to the Canadian national team's upcoming matches.

Toronto also could have been short team captain Jim Brennan, but the defender skipped the Gold Cup in favor of his home club.

"It was one of those [times] where I had a decision," said Brennan, who has 46 caps with the Canadian team. "It's not that I don't want to play for my country ... but I just felt at the time it was one of those where I want to stay here and help out Toronto."

Johnston said he has been keeping an open dialogue with the national coaches about player availability. Lombardo, for example, has been allowed to train in Toronto with the club, rather than the U-20 squad.

With defender Kevin Goldthwaite nursing an injured ankle, Gala will be returning to the Toronto camp on Friday. The 17-year-old defender may get his first taste of MLS action in the Colorado match if Goldthwaite is unable to play.

One player who is returning from international play is Andrew Boyens. The defender won his first-ever international cap with his native New Zealand on Saturday in a 2-2 draw in a friendly with Wales (and TFC teammate Robinson).

"It's been pretty crazy," Boyens said. "I left on Tuesday [May 22] and just got back on Sunday. It's been pretty crazy. But apart from the travel, it's been much the same for the boys back here with a game every four days."

As it happened, Boyens returns to face Toronto's roster issues after having left a similar problem with the New Zealand team.

"We had seven or eight guys that were unavailable for that trip who could've been starting," Boyens said. "So we were essentially fielding a one and a half-rate team. To do as well as we did and compete with a team that's above us in the world rankings is pretty satisfying."

A good showing against an undermanned lineup? Toronto FC is hoping history repeats itself on Saturday. Whatever the result, however, Johnston won't use a lack of manpower as an excuse.

"Look, do we have certain guys missing? Yes," he said. "But hey, who cares? Let's go out and play and have some fun, and let's see what happens."

Mark Polishuk is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:Originally posted by Gian-Luca

Mentioned today in a Globe article that Poz is off to the Gold Cup as well after the game on Wednesday. So he will miss Canada's first game.

I wonder who he is replacing? The article makes no mention:


He is replacing Reda. Marco wasn't fully fit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I'd prefer Reda to be injured than Hume, especially as I think Poz might do a better job at centre-back than anyone else on the roster. Where did you hear that though? The article posted suggests that Reda is still with the national team, though I hope you are right and it's just a case of the reporter not knowing that it was Reda who was dropped from the roster.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...