Slightly Shorthanded Saturday

16 February 9:12 am

Slightly Shorthanded Saturday

By Asif Hossain

The Reds will look to follow up on their 3-0 win on Wednesday night against Orlando City SC with another strong performance versus Philadelphia Union on Saturday at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic (streamed live on TorontoFC.ca at 3 p.m. ET).

Toronto must do without head coach Ryan Nelsen, who is in the UK scouting some players and finalizing his transition to Canada, and midfielder Torsten Frings, who has returned to Toronto on a personal matter and will continue his rehabilitation work from a late season hip surgery in 2012.

An ideal replacement for Frings on Saturday would be veteran Julio Cesar, but assistant coach Fran O'Leary revealed the Brazilian has a slight calf problem that could rule him out of the match. Another player currently ailing with an injury is Matt Stinson (hamstring), who has been used at midfield and fullback during preseason. Toronto kept fullback Ashtone Morgan out of Wednesday's game for cautionary reasons. The Canada international picked up a slight knock against Columbus in the first match of preseason. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei continues to recover from a broken nose, therefore Joe Bendik should again receive the start Saturday.

Although Toronto is slightly shorthanded with a handful of afflicted players and the head coach away, some are successfully on their way back. Centre back Danny Califf (knee) played 45 minutes on Wednesday and hopes to continue toward match fitness. If Morgan is unable to dress on Saturday, one player that could see some time on the left side of the backline is Logan Emory. The second year MLS player is on the road to recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. Emory took part in full contact drills for the first time in 2013 on Friday.