Saturday, March 31, 2007


Toronto FC leads 2-0 at halftime vs. USL team Charleston Battery. Toronto FC have an opportunity to win the tournament with a favourable result in the second match tonight. Goals scored by Alecko Eskandarian and Abbe Ibrahim.

Toronto FC looks to have a 4-3-3 formation tonight
Sutton, Braz, Boyens, Brennan, Pozniak, O'Brien, Mulrooney, Asante, Ibrahim, Buddle, Eskandarian


According to Colorado Rapids Head Coach Fernando Clavijo, Toronto FC were seriously interested in acquiring Clint Mathis. One might find it strange that Sir Mo was interested in trading for Mathis when he was available for free during the expansion draft back in November. What happened to change Johnston's mind? Basically Mathis earns a huge MLS salary, upwards of $400,000, and Colorado has most likely kept upwards of half of his salary on their books, in order to make him attractive to other MLS teams and unload his services. Mathis has not lived up to his potential or salary since returning from the Bundelsiga. If I recall correctly there were rumours he would return to New York last off season, where Mo served a short tenure as head coach, but nothing came of it and he was traded to Colorado from Real Salt Lake for MLS superstar Jeff Cunningham. It would have been interesting to see who, or what Toronto was offering in exchange, as Clavijo may have had his eye on fellow countryman Jose Cancela, or even Paulo Nagamura who was another piece of the Los Angeles Galaxy MLS Cup Champions in 2005, that he has been re-assembling in Colorado.

Friday, March 30, 2007


It looks like Canadian Kevin Harmse has survived the MLS preseason with the Los Angeles Galaxy, and will be suiting up alongside David Beckham this season at the Home Depot Centre. It took 3 Canadians to start for Houston to bring home an MLS Championship last season, without including Canadian coach Frank Yallop, the Galaxy needs one more to put them over the top, as Ante Jazic signed last summer.


According to TSN, Toronto FC have officially signed Andrea Lombardo, and Stephen Lumley to developmental contracts, bringing the total up to 6. All six players are local Toronto /Southwestern Ontario products.

Players signed to developmental contracts thus far by Toronto FC:
GK: Tomer Chencinski; DF: Stephen Lumley; MF: AJ Gray; MF/FW: David Guzman; FW:Andrea Lombardo; MF: Tyler Hemming


According to the Globe and Mail, Rogers Sportsnet has confirmed that Gerry Dobson, and Craig Forrest will be live at the Home Depot Centre in Carson, California to call the Toronto FC season opener with Chivas USA next Saturday. Rogers Sportsnet will apparently carry 8 games this season, 2 at home, and 6 on the road. Dobson & Forrest will serve as the voices for the team on the network. Toronto will have a minimum of 23 regular season games on local tv.


Toronto FC announced that the Canada - Argentina Under 20 exhibition match on May 11th, will be one of the 5 additional matches offered as part of the season ticket package to Toronto FC supporters.

English League veteran, and Trinidad International Shaka Hislop, is a apparently still being considered for the Howard University Head Coaching job. Hislop who signed with Major League Soccer team FC Dallas last summer, after a very successful World Cup in Germany, is the current number 2 behind Argentinian keeper Dario Sala in Dallas. Hislop played in the NCAA prior to heading to England.

Clint Mathis was traded to New York Red Bulls yesterday. His career took off with the Metrostars, after impressing with the LA Galaxy in his early MLS playing days .With much fan fare, hype, and publicity surrounding Mathis leading into the 2002 World Cup tournament, he experienced a somewhat disappointing tournament on a personal basis, only scoring one goal. Mathis quickly departed the MLS for the German league, where he had a turbulent time after a great debut. Mathis is now again back in New York trying to resurrect his career, perhaps for the final time. He arrives after a couple of sub par years with MLS teams Real Salt Lake, and Colorado .

Former MLS prospect Joselito Vaca of Bolivia, scored in his country's 1-0 victory over World Cup 2010 hosts South Africa on Wednesday.

Canadian Alen Marcina scored for the Puerto Rico Islanders (USL) in their 1-0 win over FC Dallas of MLS last week. Marcina who recently concluded his season in the Australian A-League attended Barry University, and played with New Zealand outfit New Zealand Knights.

The Montreal Impact of the USL tied the Honduran National team 1-1 in Florida over the weekend. Former MLSers Matt Jordan and Seth Tremblay are with the Impact in pre-season..

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Toronto holds on for a 2-1 victory over New York. Greg Sutton was call upon to stop a Dave Van Den Bergh penalty midway through the second half to keep Toronto ahead. While New York held much of the possession, especially in the second half, Toronto by no means looked out of place in Charleston tonight. Toronto FC were missing Carl Robinson, Andy Welsh, and Paulo Nagamura tonight, while New York pretty much had its full complement with the exception of 17 year old phenom striker Jozy Altidore.


Toronto leads on goals by Edson Buddle in the 36th minute, and Alecko Eskandarian in the 9th minute. . The New York goal was scored by John Wolyniec on a set up from Dutch league veteran Dave Van Den Bergh.


Starting lineups:
Red Bulls: Ronald Waterreus, Todd Dunivant, Carlos Mendes, Jeff Parke, Marvell Wynne, Dave van den Bergh, Dema Kovalenko, Seth Stammler, Claudio Reyna, Dane Richards, John Wolyniec.

Toronto: Greg Sutton, Andrew Boyens, Adam Braz, Jim Brennan- captain, Ronnie O' Brien, Richard Asante, Jose Cancela, Richard Mulrooney, Loes Andrade, Alecko Eskandarian, Edson Buddle.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Canada's Men's National Team defeated Bermuda this afternoon 3-0. Canada's goals were scored by Toronto area players - Tomasz Radzinski (Fulham), Paul Stalteri (Tottenham Hotspurs), and Atiba Hutchinson (FC Copenhagen).

The US National team led by a Landon Donovan hat trick, defeated Ecuador 3-1 in Tampa, Florida in front of 31,000 + spectators.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


In their very first competitive match with an MLS team, Toronto FC lost 2-0 to defending MLS Cup Champions Houston Dynamo tonight in Charleston, South Carolina. Former Toronto Blizzard keeper, and Canadian International Pat Onstad, recorded the shutout for Houston, before 3183 spectators.

The Dynamo, currently preparing for the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Semi-Final series with Pachuca of Mexico, were missing several key players due to international commitments or injury, including Toronto's very own Dwayne De Rosario, as well as - Brian Ching, Ricardo Clark, Wade Barrett, and Brian Mullan. Toronto FC were similarly missing several key players, with Marco Reda, Maurice Edu, and Conor Casey out with injuries, while Carl Robinson, Adam Braz, Andrea Lombardo and AJ Gray on international duty. Brazilian midfielder Paulo Nagamura was also mysteriously missing from the TFC lineup - perhaps another injury concern.

Good to see that Ronnie O'Brien was fit for the match, returning from a nagging injury, and that newly acquired Englishman Andy Welsh (although his signing has not officially been announced), and American Richard Mulrooney, were in the lineup for Toronto. Also nice to see that a few GTA players - Joey Melo, Maycoll Canizalez, and Richard Asante received playing time. The Official game summary from -

Scoring Summary:Houston: Cochrane (Davis) - 16'
Houston; Wondolowski (Goldthwaite) - 72'
Toronto FC: Greg Sutton, Jim Brennan, Andrew Boyens, Chris Pozniak, Richard Asante, Ronnie O'Brien, Andy Welsh (Maycoll Canizalez 63), Richard Mulrooney, Jose Cancela (Abbe Ibrahim 70), Alecko Eskandarian (Joey Melo 81), Edson Buddle
Houston Dynamo: Pat Onstad, Craig Waibel, Eddie Robinson, Ryan Cochrane, Kevin Goldthwaite, Chris Wondolowski, Kelly Gray, Brad Davis, Paul Dalglish (Corey Ashe 77), Alejandro Moreno, Stuart Holden

In the second leg of the doubleheader, the New York Red Bulls squeaked by the hometown Charleston Battery of the USL, 1-0 with an injury time goal. Toronto FC will play New York on Wednesday evening in the second fixture of the tournament.

MLS NOTES: Jamaican central defender Shaver Thomas, has been traded by the KC Wizards to the Los Angeles Galaxy. Thomas, played for current Toronto FC Assistant Coach Bob Gansler for several seasons in Kansas City.


The Canadian Under 20 National team defeated their counterparts from Scotland 3-1 in rainy Vancouver, through two goals by University of Wisconsin-Green Bay forward Tosaint Ricketts, and another by Gabe Gala. Gala has trained with Toronto FC during the pre-season. Toronto FC signings A.J. Gray and Andrea Lombardo played for Canada as well.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Mo Johnston responds to rumours that have again surfaced out of New York that Alecko Eskandarian is headed home - by declaring through a media release: "Esky is going nowhere. He is very happy in Toronto and wants a new contract."
Johnston's old media buddies in New York/New Jersey don't appear interested in listening to our great leader. The release mentions the departure of Jon Busch, yet no official word on the Andy Welsh signing, even though Sunderland's Official Website confirmed the move earlier in the day.


Toronto FC have confirmed that the BMO will be their jersey sponsor. Not sure what I think about the overall look just yet, but my search for the an original "Toronto FC" jersey (those released last year) has just become a priority!!!

Here is a look via a very dedicated supporter:

Toronto FC - Bank of Montreal Financial Group (BMO)
Real Salt Lake - Xango
Los Angeles Galaxy - Herbalife
New York Red Bulls - Red Bull


Its very interesting that Toronto FC are set to unveil their new jerseys today, as I was under the impression they had already done so last year. Of course with the announcement taking place at the Bank of Montreal (BMO), one might suggest the BMO sponsorship might be extended to the front of the jerseys as well. I was hoping Toronto would play at least one year with Toronto FC across the chest, in order to grow an identity within the marketplace for those unfamiliar with the jersey sponsorships so common in soccer. Maurice Edu will be in attendance for the unveiling.


Jon Busch was waived by Toronto FC the other day, ending an extremely short trial after being selected off waivers. In all my years watching MLS, I've never rated Jon Busch highly to be honest, so I'm somewhat relieved by the news. His playing time in Columbus had much to do with his perseverance and injuries to others, than his quality in my estimation. While he was a survivor of the always active Columbus Crew goalkeeper situation over the last few years, and is probably a hard working guy, he was not worthy of a Senior International spot.

The trade for Richard Mulrooney surely sealed Busch's fate in Toronto. When healthy, Mulrooney is one of the best midfielders in the MLS. Mulrooney is a versatile player as well. His time under Bruce Arena with the US National team program was spent largely as a defender moreover. Mulrooney was very close to landing a spot on the 2002 US World Cup team as a defender. In any event, giving up a draft pick and allocation for a proven MLS player is really a small price to pay for a player of Mulrooney's quality.

With limited information available, and the true realities of MLS transactions only truly understood by a select few insiders (we hope) it is very easy to second guess Toronto FC's player selections. Yet with the injury problems surrounding Maurice Edu at the moment, and the need for a solid backup evident, one might suggest that Toronto would have been better served selecting Chris Seitz with the first overall draft pick back in January given the need for a backup was evident at that point as well (I think I made this very suggestion in my pre-draft predictions). The former University of Maryland goalkeeper, who by all accounts is the next great American keeper, would have counted as a Youth International in Toronto, and like Edu was a Generation Adidas player (his salary would not count against the salary cap). That said he will miss a good chunk of the season due to his US U-20 commitments.

Another well travelled MLS keeper, Matt Jordan, has landed a job with the Montreal Impact of the USL. Jordan who spent 8 years with various MLS clubs, also had a brief stint in Denmark with Odense a few years back. He joins fellow American Andrew Weber as the Impact goalkeeper options for 2007.


According to Sunderland Football Club in England, Andy Welsh to Toronto FC is a done deal.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


According to Michael Lewis at and the New York Daily News, a source has revealed that Alecko Eskandarian has asked Toronto FC to trade him.


In addition to Carlsberg, The Toronto Sun newspaper, and Bank of Montreal (BMO), Toronto FC have added Unico Foods, Rogers Communications,, Pizza Pizza, Purolator, and Canon to its growing and impressive list of local corporate sponsors. Of course Adidas will be the official uniform supplier as per the extensive league partnership with the sporting goods manufacturer.


Wow - 2 matches in 2 days announced by the CSA for Toronto. This time the Canadian Under 20's will face off against their counterparts from Argentina here in Toronto on May 11th. The games are part of a preparation series sponsored by Hyundai and Yahoo. As part of the series the U-20's will play Scotland in Vancouver and Victoria, the match in Toronto, and another 3 in Sherbrooke, Edmonton and Ottawa prior to the FIFA Under 20 tournament in July.


Toronto FC have signed local product David Guzman to a developmental contract. Guzman was a part of the mens soccer program at University of Louisville in the NCAA ranks, and with the Chicago Fire Youth PDL team during the summer. Guzman's father Orlando Guzman was part of the 1970 Peruvian National side.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Looks like Canada will play its first game here in 7 years when they face Costa Rica at BMO on Wednesday September 12th. It will be a very busy week for local soccer fans as Toronto FC are playing on Saturday the 8th & 15th.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


The good majority of you won't read this until Monday morning, as the traffic here dips substantially on the weekends, with only a few hundred unique visitors each day. Anyway, I won't be updating the blog this week as I'm in sunny California. Aside from enjoying myself and sightseeing - I should have an opportunity to observe a few of the MLS teams training and in game action. Plotting my schedule as I type.

The week ahead:

* According to comments made by Mo Johnston's on Friday live on the Score Network, Toronto FC are set to announce a new left sided player shortly. Andy Welsh, formerly of Sunderland and Leicester in England, is the top candidate. Welsh, who was reportedly training with Toronto FC a couple of weeks ago, impressed Mo enough to earn a contract apparently.

* According to Gol TV Canada's "Extra Time" show, the Canadian Soccer Association is set to announce Brazilian Rene Simoes, as the new Men's National team coach. Interestingly, while host Lee Godfrey declared Simoes as the new head coach, Co-host Paul James did not sound convinced Simoes had the job just yet. James was clearly rooting for former teammate Dale Mitchell, and questioned the resume of Simoes and his ability to hold on to a job for long periods of time. Mitchell, in my mind is the best midfielder ever produced in Canada, bar none, and including Owen Hargreaves. Simoes, led Jamaica to the 1998 World Cup in France, yet has been nomadic ever since the glory days of the Reggae Boys. He has had stints in Trinidad, Honduras, Iran, and the Brazilian Women's National Team.

* Thanks to the readers that pointed out that Jon Paul Piques, has declined an opportunity to train with the Montreal Impact.

Friday, March 9, 2007


Mo Johnston has just revealed that Toronto FC is on the verge of signing a young, left sided player, who played in the Premiership last year (he appeared in 20-24 games apparently last year - that is what I think he said anyway), during a live television interview with James Sharmen on the Score Television Network . If you missed it, Sportsworld will air again later on tonight. If your planning on watching, the interview takes place directly after the opening, so try to not miss it. Translations/interpretations of Mo speak are always welcome! Mo does an excellent job at keeping fans entertained with these hints though doesn't he? Let the speculation begin.

More to come I'm sure!!!


According to a news release issued by the Montreal Impact, Toronto FC Draft pick, and University of Rhode Island product Jeff Gonsalves, is listed as being on trial with the the USL team. The Markham native was not asked to attend the Sunrise Florida training camp in February by Toronto, yet was said to have been offered a developmental contract according to a newspaper report. According to another newspaper report last week, Gonsalves was again participating with Toronto FC at U of T. Also attending the Montreal training camp according to the release, are goalkeeper Jon Paul Piques, who was released from Toronto FC training at the end of last week, and Matt Palleschi who attended the Toronto FC camp in Woodbridge in early February.


Sunday's episode of "The Apprentice" on NBC, will feature the Home Depot Center and the Los Angeles Galaxy. In the Greater Toronto Area, "The Apprentice", can be watched on WUTV Buffalo, & Global TV.


Toronto News Coverage: The Globe and Mail have again sent a reporter to cover Toronto FC in Florida. It would appear as the assembling of the roster is nearly complete, Sir Mo is now focused on creating a cohesive unit on the field.
The Globe also has a report from Thursday's match;
The National Post provided yet another Pre-Season match report for their readers.

An excellent game report from

Chelsea vs. Galaxy:The Los Angeles Galaxy will announce a friendly tournament at the Home Depot Centre later today. The tournament will involve Chelsea, Korean team Suwon Bluwing (who happen to share Samsung as a shirt sponsor with Chelsea), and Tigres of Mexico.

Yallop to Decide Soon: Canadian Kevin Harmse's fate with the LA Galaxy will be decided soon, according to Frank Yallop.

MLS Expansion: The latest MLS expansion buzz is coming from Arizona, where a group has formed to investigate the possibilities of an MLS team.

DC Samba: DC United is going Brazilian with news that "Fred", a midfielder who played with Australian side Melbourne last season, is all but confirmed.

Robbie Rogers to Columbus: The Washington Post reports the Robbie Rogers lottery was won by the Columbus Crew yesterday.

DP Player to be Signed Soon: New York soccer writer Michael Lewis, is reporting that a source has told him an MLS team is set to sign a designated player. While we don't know the team involved, we do know the teams that have said they won't be involved in a DP signing anytime soon - namely: Toronto, New York, and DC United, while LA and Chivas no longer have a DP to use. Chicago has cleared tons of salary from their roster this off-season, and has yet to make a splash - my bet is on the Fire. Patrick Berger or Mexican Cuauhtemoc Blanco perhaps????

Thursday, March 8, 2007


Toronto FC defeated the University of Connecticut Huskies Men's Soccer team 4-0 today. Goals came from Andrea Lombardo, Abbe Ibrahim, Alecko Eskandarian, and training camp invitee -Spaniard Ivan Cadavieco. Carl Robinson and waiver pickup Jon Busch saw their first action for Toronto in the convincing win. Toronto was missing Ronnie O'Brien, Marco Reda, and first round draft pick Maurice Edu, all out with injuries. The official release: ymd=20070308&content_id=85200&vkey=pr_t280&fext=.jsp&team=t280

More on Spanish trialist Ivan Cadavieco :

NOTES: Canadian Kevin Harmse who has been training with the LA Galaxy since their training camp began a few weeks ago, has apparently featured in 3 of 5 pre-season matches thus far. LA made a series of cuts earlier in the week, yet Harmse remains in camp. If signed, Harmse will join another Canadian, Ante Jazic, on the Galaxy roster.


The scheduled weighted lottery for the services of American teenager Robbie Rogers goes today. As reported here early last week, Rogers return may have Toronto FC implications.
Conflicting reports from two respected American Soccer writers address Toronto FC's possibility of landing Rogers. While Steven Goff over at the Washington Post claims Toronto is at the bottom of the pecking order, Ridge Mahoney of Soccer America Magazine puts Toronto at the very top of the list.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


Canadian Kevin Harmse is on trial with the Los Angeles Galaxy, playing today in an exhibition pre-season match. Toronto FC Expansion Draft pick Ritchie Kotschau, is also training with the Galaxy. Kotschau was released by Toronto FC last month. A couple of other notable names in the Galaxy camp include former Manchester United Youth team and Chicago Fire player, John Thortington, who hails from California, as well as Darren Currie, an Englishman who last played with Ipswich Town in England.


The only major daily paper reporting Toronto FC's pre-season result yesterday, is the National Post. They went as far as providing the goal scorer, which I couldn't find anywhere on Tuesday. Excellent work by the National Post, as the team itself has yet to release anything on their website.

As a follow up to game story posted yesterday, a few more details are now available. Greg Sutton and Tomer Chencinski shared the shutout for Toronto. Toronto is now 6-1-0 in Official Preseason matches. While TFC apparently started its top lineup yesterday, including Conor Casey & Edson Buddle up top, it was local teenager Andrea Lombardo who scored for Toronto in the 84th minute, in their 1-0 victory over Creighton University of the NCAA.

The aforementioned Tomer Chencinski from Thornhill, Ontario, has apparently signed a contract with Toronto FC and will serve as the third string & reserve team keeper. Chencinski is fresh out of the NCAA College Ranks, having split his time with Fairleigh Dickinson University and Robert Morris College.

Canada's Men's National team, was drawn into a group with Costa Rica, Guadeloupe, and Haiti, for the Gold Cup tournament to be held later this year. Canada will be based in Miami, Florida, where Haiti will surely be the fan favourites in the group.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007


Toronto FC were victorious today 1-0, in their first pre-season game in Bradenton. The Toronto goal came in the 84th minute. Creighton, which is always amongst the top NCAA Mens Soccer programs, kept Toronto at bay for most of the match. More to come later on tonight.

Here we go - the first release about the game comes out of Omaha, Nebraska


Not much in terms of real news this morning. Toronto FC is back in Florida and scheduled to play Creighton University at 10 a.m. in Bradenton. The Gold Cup Draw is scheduled for later today which will be interesting for all fans of Canadian soccer.

The Toronto Star has a list of signed players and those trying out for the team today. The first I've seen in any of the local papers. Before we all get too excited, just remember the information coming out from the various media sources has been known to be incorrect or conflicting with reports found elsewhere. The most prominent name missing from the Star's list is Uruguayan midfielder Jose Cancela. Others include Jon Paul Piques, Joey Melo, Maycoll Canizalez (or sometimes known as Mike Campos Canizalez Smith), Tyler Hemming, and Hunter West. Jeff Gonsalves and Jammal Smith had apparently been recalled for the next part of training camp yet there names do not appear anywhere on the list either. Tyler Hemming of London was reportedly attending the next phase of training camp, and was apparently without a contract according to a couple of Toronto Sun articles from a couple of days ago, yet his name does not appear. I'll suggest the Star has not included players offered/with developmental contracts. An interesting name included on the list is that of 17 year old Gabe Gala, who is being heavily recruited by NCAA schools. Until today his name was not officially printed anywhere. I can offer that Gala was very impressive during the training scrimmages at the Soccer Centre in early February.

Here is the list printed by the Toronto Star this morning:
The players signed so far are:
Defenders – Andrew Boyens, Adam Braz, Chris Pozniak and Marco Reda.
Midfielders – Richard Asante, Jim Brennan, Maurice Edu, Paulo Nagamura, Ronnie O'Brien, Carl Robinson.
Forwards – Edson Buddle, Conor Casey, Alecko Eskandarian.
Goalkeepers – Greg Sutton, Jon Busch.
Several players remain in training camp without contracts:
Defenders – Gabe Gala and Stephen Lumley.
Midfielder – AJ Gray.
Forwards – Abbe Ibrahim and Andrea Lombardo.
Goalkeeper – Tomer Chencinski.

Monday, March 5, 2007


Toronto FC, selected MLS veteran Jon Busch in the waiver draft today from the Columbus Crew this afternoon. I had wondered if Toronto was interested in Busch last week, in another post about the player being waived by Columbus. Sir Mo answered by selecting Busch today. It will be very interesting to see how Toronto juggles their foreign player allotment, as Busch will count as an international player. Toronto FC currently have 7 American domestic eligible players on the roster - including the 2 Green Card holding internationals (O'Brien & Cancela). Supplemental draft pick, Hunter West, may also still be in contention for a developmental contract. The number of Americans on the roster proves how difficult a chore it has been trying to lure Canadian players back home to play in MLS. While the interest is very much there, the money being offered to Canadians abroad may not be close to what the players are earning in Europe. Busch, who made upwards of $90,000 last season, will surely be due for a pay cut. One of the Americans will now occupy the 4th and final senior international spot.

USA INTERNATIONALS: Conor Casey, Alecko Eskandarian, Edson Buddle
SENIOR INTERNATIONALS: Jose Cancela, Carl Robinson, Ronnie O'Brien, Jon Busch
YOUTH INTERNATIONALS: (MAX 5) Maurice Edu, Paulo Nagamura, Abbe Ibrahim, Andrew Boyens


The worst possible scenario for the marketing executives at Major League Soccer is taking shape. That little injury David Beckham sustained playing for Real Madrid, could be much worse than originally suspected - a potential nightmare for the folks over at MLS HQ & AEG. MLS banking so much on one player is a very dangerous game. I suspect there will be an overflow of unhappy fans on the "Beckham Bandwagon," when and if this injury is declared serious.,0,5853344.story?coll=la-home-headlines


Nice to see Brampton native Paul Stalteri score a big goal for Tottenham this weekend. Stalteri moved to Tottenham from Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga where he enjoyed a very successful run, including winning the League & Cup championships. After being transferred, Stalteri enjoyed good debut season in 2005-2006 with Spurs in England. It has been followed unfortunately, by a very frustrating season, where the Canadian International, has been either injured or out of favour by his manager.


According to the following report, Chinese defender Yao Lijun will be on trial with the LA Galaxy of Major League Soccer.

With all the requests I received for more information on Xu Qing - the player from China who was on trial with Toronto FC at the beginning of February, I thought it would be fitting that I'd post some info I found on his situation today.

After his one week trial in Toronto, Xu Qing returned home, and celebrated the Chinese New Year. While Toronto FC moved to their Ft. Lauderdale Spring training camp, Qing found himself back home, quietly preparing for the new Chinese league season. Qing was registered by his club side Wuhan, for the new Chinese Super League season in late February. The 2007 season began on Saturday. From what I can make of the translated text, Qing's ambition is to play abroad. The young Chinese player may still be looking to head elsewhere in the near future, either on loan or on a permanent basis, perhaps back to try out for another MLS team.

By all media accounts in the Chinese press, the Toronto coaching staff were very positive on Qing. One report quoted the coaching staff as saying TFC would have signed him right away had he counted as a domestic player. From what I saw of him myself, I would suggest at worst Qing could have been a long term project. So, what ever happened to Qing, if the coaching staff apparently liked him so much?

Here are a few possible explanations derived from a series of translated articles on the topic. Any of the following scenarios could be possible in my estimation:
- Toronto FC did not believe Qing justified a Youth international spot at this time
- Toronto realized it had an abundance of forwards with Conor Casey, Abbe Ibrahim, and Andrea Lombardo, on the way. Qing therefore, would have been surplus to requirements.
- A transfer fee may have been in play. A fee for an unproven player his age was not likely to happen.
- Qing's salary & compensation package, exceeded the realities of MLS.

Anyway here are some relevant, translated articles I used to base my assumptions on why Qing wasn't signed. Again these articles have been translated by google - not the best way to figure out what was being written - but worth a read if your interested.

Taken from an article from February 28th: Notes : this is the first established in Wuhan Optical Valley of the aid team, the four expatriates were from Brazil, Jiaosen Vicente 2005 season with the potential to become the main force in Wuhan. Ralph Waldo Emerson, a new partnership this season compared with Bruno. 21. Xu Qing, although the club on the 21st registered in Wuhan, but he is still playing the American League, can be leased back to the end of team effectiveness.

Jingchu network news
(Sports Weekly) (Xinhua) :
Feng morning on the 13th. North American Professional League in the latest edition of the Toronto International team, young Han Qing Xu returned to the home. The latest edition, in the next two weeks, Xu Qing won the favor of an international coach, who publicly expressed keenness to join Xu Qing. However, foreign aid ended, Xu Qing Liuyang, there is still a big obstacle.

Qing's guide to a good start in the first three goals independence boosts competition, the team coach with admiration. Since the debut performance, Xu Qing more in the next match to be going to the battlefield, he said, A fleet competition every day, every other day, fighting with other teams warm up match. Xu Qing partic ipated in the eight games, scoring are commonplace. ”Team coach of the Toronto International Xu Qing high evaluation : "He was a very distinctive feature, a strong shot but also technology and speed is a very promising forwards. "

North American professional team is this year's Toronto International Alliance of the New Army, in a long club season with a good performance. Therefore, clubs in a world-wide search for a guide players have only four forwards aid Competing online. In addition, Xu Qing, a German, two French players and players.

Although favored by the other coach, it's still great difficulty in Liuyang Xu Qing. According to the North American professional league, a team can only have three foreign players. Xu Qing in the latest edition, the ownership of three foreign aid has ended, and signed a contract. If other options Xu Qing, it is necessary to terminate and other foreign aid and pay damages. New Army for a North American, not easy to make such a decision. Xu Qing also very sensible : "I have watched my strength demonstrated to the other, whether or not to join without me. "

Hejia from North America, Xu Qing run very hard in the winter. He called yesterday's press liaison, he is busy Daoshicha. He told reporters : "Recently too tired, just want to make a few adjustments in the state, quiet New Year. then full preparation for the new season. "As the European transferring windows closed, Xu Qing, would not go abroad in the latest edition of the Spring Festival.

February 14, 2007 01 Changjiang Daily
(Reporter KE) yesterday, Xu Qing return to the Toronto team experimental Wuhan. Wuhan team after two days of rest, he will return to training.
January 30, Xu pointing out the way to Toronto, Canada to begin a two-week experimental. In Toronto, the arrival of Xu Qing attracted much attention. “Good”。While competition in the first stage boosts teaching hat tricks, making Toronto chief Jessen ASR "Good." ζ£®Then, he competitions attack in a connection, it is even more firm in Toronto chief Xu Qing direct sign of determination Jessen-the only question is whether we can persuade club.
Xu Qing, said in an interview with our reporter, "I can only try to express themselves. However, I can not about the results. "As we understand it, the problem is there are five clubs in Toronto native Vocational Alliance declared only three foreign aid (OAS membership is not the players within the aid places) As their contracts have not expired, Xu Qing to sign the non-payment of a very large sum. Xu Qing join Toronto and now he has little strength. This is the major clubs are willing to spend money to buy Xu Qing.

Saturday, March 3, 2007


Quick breakdown with some Toronto implications: Canada made off well in my estimation with Austria, Chile & Congo. Our American friends are in what looks to be the toughest group, together with Brazil, Poland & Korea. Not a great draw for Toronto in terms of ethnic interest & tourism (aside from Portugal). The Mexican population is rather small here, yet there may be more than a few Mexicans living across the border in New York State, Michigan etc., willing to take the short drive north to support their team. The first game will be interesting and will have Canada face a quality opponent. It also worked out well that the Mexico -Portugal game fell where it did. The game originally scheduled for Toronto, and relocated (lost) to Montreal pits Portugal & Gambia. Fitting that Austria gets a game in Toronto as well, with the Stronach empire based here. Billionaire Frank Stronach has been very active in Austrian soccer over the years.

Toronto First Round Games:
July 1st: Canada vs. Chile
July 2nd: Portugal vs. New Zealand & Gambia vs. Mexico
July 5th: New Zealand vs. Gambia & Mexico vs. Portugal
July 8th: Chile vs. Austria

As for the round of 16, Toronto is in line to get 2 games, the first featuring the winner from Group D (Brazil perhaps) July 11th, & the second the winner from Group E (Argentina perhaps) July 12th.


Very nice Paul!


Two slightly different versions of the same article by Dean McNulty of the Toronto Sun have surfaced this morning. The first was in the Toronto Sun, while the other ran in the London Free Press, hometown of TFC Supplemental pick Tyler Hemming. Hemming has survived yet another obstacle, and will remain with the team as they move to Bradenton, Florida. The Hartwick College star, has yet to sign a contract with Toronto FC at this point. Mo Johnston has changed his tune, and has said he will now be willing to use the number one allocation on Conor Casey.

York University product, and open tryout survivor Jamaal Smith, has apparently been recalled to the team, and is also expected to be in Florida next week.

Bill Lankof of the Sun, takes a shot at Toronto FC this morning. Basically claims Toronto FC have been invisible. He has a point in a way. I mean aside from die hard fans, there are many who have no clue about the players on the team. Most of the discussion in the media has been about ticket sales and the like, with little focus on who and what to expect this coming year. I know of a few season ticket holders, that honestly couldn't tell you one name on the Toronto FC roster. One of them was actually convinced TFC had drafted Freddy Adu - instead of Maurice Edu. I couldn't change his mind, and he still believes I'm wrong. A few others believed MLS was an upstart league until I set them straight. All have unrealistic expectations of what MLS is all about, mainly due to the Beckham signing. They wonder why Alessandro del Piero, Luis Figo, or Michael Owen (or in some cases all three) haven't been signed yet. This level of expectation has been known to hurt MLS clubs in the past, the best example being New York, where the fan base has dwindled since 1996. One advantage Toronto does have however, is the tidy 20,000 seat Soccer Specific Stadium (although if it were truly "soccer specific" the field would be natural grass) from the get go. Here's the link:

An article in the Toronto Star today, mentions players in contention for the U-20 National team participating with Toronto FC in training this winter - Stephen Lumley, Andrea Lombardo, AJ Gray and Gabe Gala.

Friday, March 2, 2007


MLS will conduct a waiver draft on Monday. Players waived by their respective teams in order to meet the March 1st deadline will be available.

Goalkeeper Jon Busch has been waived by the Columbus Crew. Apparently 4 teams have shown interest in selecting him on Monday. Could Toronto be one of them?

Former Indoor player Zoran Savic has been hired as an assistant coach to Preki for CD Chivas USA.

The Colorado Rapids have signed Costa Rican midfielder Yherland McDonald. McDonald will count as a Youth International.

Darren Currie, a 32 year old English midfielder from Ipswich Town, is being auditioned by the L.A Galaxy. LA's Canadian head coach Frank Yallop, had a long career with Ipswich before moving to the Tampa Bay Mutiny of MLS in 1996.

The Washington Post is reporting that DC United will have Danish defender Jamil Fearrington from FC Copenhagen in training camp next week. Fearrington is an American citizen and will not count as an international if signed. DC United will also have Welton Silva, yet another Brazilian forward in camp. This is not the original MLS "Welton" (I believe his last name was De Melo) who did well for New England and L.A during the leagues formative years. English midfielder Kasali Yinka Casal and Guy Roland Kpene of the Ivory Coast are also being looked at by DCU.

It will be very interesting to find out which MLS team was seriously courting Robbie Fowler, as Soccer America Magazine has suggested the team most interested wasn't the New England Revolution, as many believed. The only other teams I would suggest have made any noise about signing a DP this year, were Chicago and Dallas. New York was apparently after Agustin Delgado so it most likely wasn't them.

FC Dallas signed 21 year old Colombian midfielder Juan Carlos Toja. Toja was previously on loan to River Plate in Argentina, from Independiente Santa Fe in Colombia.

The Chicago Tribune, is reporting that goalkeeper Zach Thorton has been traded to the Colorado Rapids.

Mexican legend Hugo Sanchez (he played for the Dallas Burn of MLS in 1996), won his first game as head coach of Mexico. A crowd of 63,328 witnessed Mexico defeat Venezuela 3-1 in San Diego. Its safe to assume that SUM, a branch of MLS that controls the Mexican National team property in the United States, made some money on that game.

An American company, Chestnut Hill Ventures of Boston, has bought into League One side Millwall in England. I wonder if former Millwall and MLS player, Toronto born John Kerr Jr., was involved in any way. Kerr is currently coaching the Harvard Men's soccer program.

The New England Revolution have released international training camp invitees Jorge Ramirez of Peru, as well as Takuya Yamada & Takashi Hirano both of Japan.

Canada has submitted a bid to host the 2011 Women's World Cup. Canadian fans will remember that Canada was in line to host the 2007 event, yet the SARS epidemic in Asia caused the 2003 tournament to be held in the United States instead, with China granted the 2007 tourny. If the games are indeed awarded to Canada, it will surely help Vancouver in their attempts at securing funding for a proposed downtown stadium.


The Toronto Sun is reporting that the hold up with the Conor Casey signing revolves around Toronto not wanting to use the #1 overall Allocation on the American forward. According to the article, an agreement is now closer to being reached, and an announcement should be made as soon as today. Casey has unofficially participated with Toronto FC for the past three weeks in training camp.


If you missed the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League qualifiers last night on Fox Sports World Canada, both MLS teams advanced with wins over Central American opponents.

The first game was the second leg of the quarterfinal series featuring DC United and CD Olimpia of Honduras. The game was a sloppy affair, played on a very wet surface at RFK Stadium in Washington DC. The once always pristine grass turf at RFK looked terrible. DC United won the first match 4-1 in Honduras, leaving Olimpia with an enormous task of winning by a large score away from home. With the 3-2 win, United advances with an aggregate of 7-3. While DC United is still technically in pre-season, their defensive group looked shaky last night in my opinion. Argentinian Christian Gomez proved his worth last night with terrific play in midfield. Luciano Emilio, United's new Brazilian signing looked very good as well. DC United had starting keeper Troy Perkins go down with an injury, and was replaced by backup Jay Nolly.

In the later game from College Station Texas, the MLS Champion Houston Dynamo defeated Puntaneras of Costa Rica 2-0. Houston advanced on aggregate after losing 1-0 away in Costa Rica last week. With a wonderful field, and what looked to be perfect weather conditions, this game was generally of a higher standard than the DC game from earlier in the evening. The rust, and lack of conditioning with some of the Houston players was very much evident however - which is natural given it is still pre-season. I thought the forward partnership of Venezuelan Alejandro Moreno and Paul Daglish of Scotland looked good. Toronto native Dwayne de Rosario went down late with some sort of leg injury, and didn't finish. Canadian keeper Pat Onstad was out hurt with an injury. The match was played at a small university soccer stadium outside of Houston. On a side note, it was interesting to see local soccer teams practicing on adjoining fields outside the stadium, while such an important fixture was being played just meters away. Goes to show that soccer participation does not necessarily translate to soccer spectator interest.

Interesting that DC United will go on to play Chivas of Guadalajara, and Houston will play Pachuca in the semi final round, as all four teams will participate in the Superliga later in the year.


An interesting article quotes Montreal Impact billionaire director Joey Saputo's take on Toronto FC. Saputo has balked at the price for an MLS expansion team in the past, passing up opportunities to get involved in MLS when prices hovered between $5 million - $10 million. He was involved with the APSL bid to gain Division 1 Status from the USSF in the early 1990's.

Saputo confirmed what was reported here last year, that the Montreal Impact will play Toronto FC in a friendly. The game was negotiated as part of the transfer of Greg Sutton to Toronto FC. Unfortunately, the game itself may not take place this year according to the article. Toronto native and Canadian Youth International Andres Arango passed up an opportunity to sign for Toronto FC in order to play for Montreal. The Impact have been known to offer salaries comparable or better than some MLS teams would offer for domestic talent. Gabriel Gervais, Nevio Pizziolitto, and Sandro Grande are Impact players that MLS teams have looked at in the past.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


The Toronto Sun is reporting this morning that English striker Andy Welsh, formerly of Sunderland and Leicester, is on trial with Toronto FC. According to Mo Johnston, Welsh has been "very impressive." Having been born in 1983, Welsh would therefore be eligible for Youth International status if signed by Toronto. I might suggest with the current selection of forwards currently in camp, does Toronto really need another forward?

According to the article, Mo continues to search for players, with the usual line about a few more on the way with "International /MLS experience". The keeper position remains a going concern for Toronto, as do injuries with the likes of Paulo Nagamura, Ronnie O'Brien, Edson Buddle, Alecko Eskandarian - a big chunk of the salary cap, sitting on the bench this week. The Maurice Edu injury will keep him out of the lineup for at least another month.

Some Background on Andy Welsh:


The Toronto Star counters with a story on the late arrival of two area teenagers to practice. The article confirms that Canadian Youth Internationals AJ Gray and Stephen Lumley are "trying out" for Toronto FC. It appears that both young players may have decided to turn professional, as try outs for a professional team could disqualify these players from US Scholarship opportunities. Gabe Gala, another young player that scrimmaged with Toronto FC at the Soccer Centre in Vaughan earlier in the month, was not mentioned in the article.

If Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star, honestly believes BMO Field will be capable of hosting World Cup matches, he is sadly mistaken. BMO Field will be perfect venue for MLS and Canadian Soccer, but it is by no means a "world class" venue capable of hosting World Cup games, even with the capacity expanded. Lets be honest here, BMO Field is a no frills equivalent of a smallish US College football stadium (there may even be high school facilities on par in the US). Any US World Cup bid will not include smaller soccer specific stadiums in my estimation. Modern NFL Stadiums will be the focus of the bid. One of the primary reasons USA 1994 was so successful was that all stadiums were already in place, as they would be again in 2018, cutting down on the capital expenditures related to hosting. A joint North American bid is a fascinating idea though.