When Toronto FC arrived at the airport in Boston on Friday afternoon ahead of Saturday's match (v. New England – 7:30 p.m. ET on TSN 2), a new face greeted them at the baggage carousel. It belonged to Andrew Wiedeman, the first player acquired under Paul Mariner.
The 22-year old forward comes relatively unknown to TFC fans. He has been thrust into the spotlight by being part of a high-profile transaction that sees designated player Julian de Guzman head to Dallas.
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Video: Andrew Wiedeman on Toronto FC TV.
“I can hit a ball,” Wiedeman told Toronto FC TV when asked to describe what type of a player the Reds were getting.
“(I’m) a worker. I’ll come out, work hard,” the young American prefaced before briefly outlining his ability to finish his chances. This is something he has yet to do in MLS, buried behind talented senior players in Dallas, Wiedeman hasn’t received much of a look.
The Californian has played just 172 minutes in MLS with one start since being drafted in 2010. His work ethic had kept him in Schellas Hyndman’s plans in Dallas, even if his minutes were limited.
Showing well under Mariner could land Wiedeman a regular role behind the main striking duo of Danny Koevermans and Ryan Johnson. He can also provide width, an area Toronto needed to address after recent departures of Joao Plata on loan to develop at his former club and Nick Soolsma by mutual consent.
Toronto’s need for depth, coupled with a long-awaited chance for Wiedeman to prove himself could work well for all parties involved. “I think it was the best move for myself and Dallas,” the forward said, remembering that his previous side has received an experienced Canadian international.
The last two mid-season acquisitions from Dallas – Eric Avila and Peri Marosevic – had mixed results for Toronto. Avila is now a big part of Toronto’s midfield but Marosevic had a short stint, made memorable by an important goal against Pumas in the 2011/12 Champions League campaign.
“I’m looking for him to really take the bull by the horns and take this opportunity,” Mariner said of Wiedeman. With this move the coach finds some cover for his forwards, while creating substantial salary cap room to address more needs.