Maicon Reunited With Preki

Friday July 9, 2010

Toronto FC’s newest signing Maicon Santos is happy to be reunited with his former coach Preki. The 26-year-old was given his chance in Major League Soccer when he was signed by Preki for Chivas USA last year, and the two will now work together again following Maicon’s arrival at BMO Field.

[inline_node:4176]“I feel very good to be moving here,” said Maicon. “Everything is going to be new for me here, but I will do my best and work very hard for the team.”

“Preki being here played a part in my decision to come to Toronto. We know each other and he knows the type of player that I am and what I can do. He knows that I like to work hard and I like the style of his training sessions.”

“It is good to have the same hard working mentality as the coach. If everyone keeps working hard it is better for the team, and that is the approach Preki has to training and playing so that suits me. I can feel it is going to be great here.”

Maicon’s football career started in Brazil in 2004 and he also played for clubs in Tunisia, Libya and Israel. “I think my style of play suits the game here in MLS,” he explains. “They play strong and I like it that way. I like to drive forward with the ball and get possession around the edge of the 18 yard box. I feel good fitting in to playing the way the game is here.”

Maicon’s debut for Chivas was against Toronto FC in August last year and he assisted on one of the Chivas goals in a 2-0 win, but he has never played at BMO Field. “It will be new for me playing here at this stadium, but I am looking forward to the experience of playing here in front of the fans.”

Thursday July 8, 2010

Toronto FC’s players battled the heat as they trained in Oakville on Thursday morning getting set to face Colorado Rapids at BMO Field on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. live on CBC. The Reds returned to the pitch after spending Wednesday’s training session in the gym and running by the lake shore.

[inline_node:3889]Coach Preki spent three years as coach of Chivas USA in Los Angeles, but has still been feeling the heat this week. “It is a different type of weather in California because it can be very warm but never really so humid,” he said. “Here we are dealing with the high temperature and also the high humidity. That is why we have been trying to manage things a little bit differently and save our legs for Saturday.”

“It has been hard for the players but they have been reacting well. We have been trying to work hard for short periods of time and keep the energy level pretty high,” the coach explained.

For Reds captain Dwayne De Rosario, the heat is nothing new having joined Toronto from Houston. “This definitely reminds me of my time in Houston. The main thing is to remain hydrated, not only on the pitch but at home as well. Obviously training is very draining and sometimes you lose your breath, but I stressed to these guys about how demanding it is playing in this kind of heat. Thankfully we have had a good solid week of training and everyone is looking forward to Saturday.”

Julian de Guzman played in Spain’s La Liga for three years but has found it difficult training with the heat wave in Ontario this week. “It’s been very tough,” he said. “It got this hot in Spain, but usually the games are later. There we were used to playing at 9 or 10 at night and 5 o’clock at the earliest. So it will be difficult for the guys here playing at midday on Saturday.”

Toronto’s final training session ahead of the Colorado match will be on Friday morning at Cherry Beach.

Wednesday July 7, 2010

Toronto FC’s new Spanish striker Mista hopes to use the next few days of training to get up to full fitness. The 31-year-old two-time La Liga winner cannot make his debut for the Reds until after July 15th, but is pleased to have time to get to know his new teammates.

“I want to be playing as soon as I can,” he said after the team wrapped up Wednesday’s training session at BMO Field. “In Spain the season has been finished for over a month so I am now using this time to get my legs back and training very hard. When the coach feels like I am ready I hope I will be able to help the team get some good results.”

Mista spent time training with the team in early June before a move was finalized and he believes that was beneficial for everyone involved. “It was good for me to get to know the city and the club, and for the team to see what I could offer as well.”

Coach Preki is looking forward to getting Mista into match action, but first wants to ensure he is ready to play. “We are taking a look at him and making sure that he is fit,” explained Preki. “Hopefully over the next few days we can advance him in terms of fitness and getting to know how the group wants to play.”

Dwayne De Rosario did not take full part in training on Tuesday due to adductor tightness but the captain is rated as probable in the latest official MLS Injury Report.

Toronto will train again in Oakville on Thursday as they get ready to face Colorado Rapids on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. at BMO Field.

Tuesday July 6, 2010

Toronto FC midfielder Julian de Guzman is welcoming the signing of his former Deportivo La Coruna teammate Mista. de Guzman played alongside the striker for 18 months in Spain’s La Liga and believes he can make a big impact in Major League Soccer.

[inline_node:4159]“I had a chance to play with Mista during my time in Spain and I think it will be a great addition to the team,” said de Guzman. “He brings a lot of experience to the team and is exactly what we need up front at the moment. I am very happy to have him join our team.”

de Guzman doesn’t expect Mista to have any problems settling into a new team in a new country. “I think it will be an interesting experience for him coming from La Liga and playing in the MLS. I will be there to help him out in any way that I can. I can speak Spanish and Martin Saric, Leo Percovich and some of the other guys in the locker room also speak Spanish so I think he will have no problem fitting into a nice position here.”

“He had the chance to come here and train with us a few weeks ago so he got the chance see the team and the city and he was very pleased. Once he had seen what it was like here he was very interested in coming over. Now we are looking forward to having him on the pitch with the team.”

The Scarborough native will have to wait a couple of weeks before being reunited with Mista in match action. Due to international transfer regulations, the 31-year-old won’t be able to make his Reds debut until the clash in Philadelphia on July 17. When he does get on the pitch, de Guzman knows exactly what to expect.

“He is more of a number nine type striker, a man who will hold up the ball and get the team moving forward. That is pretty much what he did at Deportivo when I played with him. I know in his earlier career he played more as a number 10 at Valencia and also at Atletico Madrid, but lately he has been the guy that holds the ball up and makes the intelligent runs behind the defence. He also has a lethal left foot.”

“The main difference here in MLS is that it is more physical than La Liga, but I am sure he will get used to that very quickly. The players are also very athletic here and it is a fast paced game.”

Tuesday June 29, 2010

[inline_node:3710]Toronto FC coach Preki expects to have Julian de Guzman and Chad Barrett available to start Thursday’s match at home to Houston Dynamo if selected. The duo came off the bench in Saturday’s 0-0 tie against Los Angeles Galaxy but took full part in training with the rest of the squad at Oakville Soccer Centre on Tuesday morning.

“Everyone trained hard this morning and I don’t see any issues so we will see how it goes in the next day or two,” said Preki. “We hope everybody stays healthy and will be competing for a spot.”

2010 SuperDraft pick Joseph Nane is also now back in full training after recovering from the dislocated shoulder sustained in the final match of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship against Vancouver Whitecaps at BMO Field earlier this month. “He is training with the group and looks fit now,” said the coach.

Preki is warning his players not to take Houston lightly despite the Dynamo heading north of the border winless in their last four matches. They lost three consecutive games going into the World Cup break and then tied 2-2 at home to Colorado on Saturday.

“Obviously they had some changes in the offseason and are trying to find their way this year,” explained Preki. “Their coach Dominic Kinnear always does a good job with the team so I don’t expect an easy game on Thursday just because things haven’t been going their way.”

Kick off at BMO Field on Thursday night at  BMO Field is 7:00 p.m. live on Rogers Sportsnet.

Monday June 28, 2010

[inline_node:3889]Toronto FC have made big improvements in defence during the season so far, but now coach Preki is wanting to see more from his team at the other end of the pitch. The goalless draw at home to Los Angeles was the Reds’ fourth clean sheet in their last five league matches, but also the second consecutive game without scoring.

“Right now the group has a good mentality and we are a hard team to play against,” Preki said during an interview on The FAN 590 on Monday afternoon. “We don’t give too many chances to the other teams and that is a positive thing for us. Our main focus in the next few days will be to find a bit more creativity. I would like to see both of our full backs push forward in attack and make timely runs in a smart way, but we can’t be stupid and leave ourselves open.

“Against the Galaxy I thought we got caught offside too many times and when you do that you are not going to have a lot of success. We are going to have to talk about that in the next couple of days to make sure that we don’t keep doing that because it breaks our attack. I would like to see us being a bit more fluid in the final third of the pitch.”

Whether that additional attacking push comes in the form of new signings remains to be seen, but Preki confirmed that he expects new signings to be made in the coming weeks. “We are always looking and entertaining ideas,” he said. “We still have a couple of spots open on our roster and I am sure we will be adding quality to our squad.”

The players were given the day off on Monday and will return to training in Oakville on Tuesday morning. “On Sunday the players were in for a recovery day and today I looked back over the match tape to see what we did well and what we didn’t do so well. We will talk about that with the team tomorrow and start to prepare for Thursday.”

Friday June 25, 2010

[inline_node:4002]Chad Barrett, Julian de Guzman and O’Brian White all took part in Friday’s training session at Cherry Beach and are fit enough to be included in the squad for Saturday night’s match at home to Los Angeles Galaxy. Kick off is 7:30 p.m. live on Rogers Sportsnet.

The trio all missed training earlier in the week. Barrett has recovered from a hamstring strain but now needs to get back to full fitness. “I wasn’t able to train much during the break because of the injury,” he said after practice Friday. “ I feel fine now, but I just need to get back up to speed. I will definitely be able to be included in the squad for the game though.” de Guzman and White also took full part in the scrimmage and appear to be over their injuries.

Toronto FC Academy defender Doneil Henry was called up to train with the first team on Friday. Henry made his Toronto FC debut in the 0-0 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship at BMO Field earlier this month.

After stepping up his comeback from a knee injury in recent days, Gambian defender Emmanuel Gomez was again on the sidelines on Friday and appears to have suffered a setback. He has missed all of the season so far and Coach Preki told me that the condition of Gomez will be assessed by the medical team at the club before any further decisions are made.

Thursday June 24, 2010

[inline_node:3854]Toronto FC’s players trained at Cherry Beach Sports Fields on Thursday morning with four players still injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s match against Los Angeles Galaxy.

The official MLS injury report ahead of the match shows Emmanuel Gomez as the only Toronto player definitely out. He continues to step up his comeback following a knee injury but is not ready to return to action yet.

Chad Barrett, Julian de Guzman, Joseph Nane and O’Brian White are all currently listed as questionable. de Guzman is getting over a hamstring strain but said earlier in the week that he expects to be fit to play. Barrett has also missed training this week with a hamstring strain. White has an abductor muscle strain and Nane is still getting back to full fitness after dislocating his shoulder during the 0-0 tie against Vancouver Whitecaps on June 2nd.

The Galaxy will train in Toronto on Friday afternoon. The squad making the trip West is without U.S. World Cup duo Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle. Former New York Red Bulls forward Mike Magee is ruled out for four to six weeks after having sports hernia surgery. Midfielder Dema Kovalenko is rated questionable with a hamstring strain.

Tuesday June 22, 2010

Toronto FC’s players trained indoors at Oakville Soccer Club on Tuesday as they step up preparations ahead of their return to action against Los Angeles Galaxy at BMO Field on Saturday.

[inline_node:3710]Chad Barrett, O’Brian White and Julian de Guzman did not take full part in the training session as they continue to recover from injuries, but coach Preki doesn’t expect them to miss the match.

“They have just had little setbacks but it is not too much of a concern. I expect them to be in training in the next couple of days so we will see how it goes.”

de Guzman used the World Cup break to recover from the hamstring injury that pained him during the 0-0 draw against Kansas City Wizards earlier this month, and he is feeling much better now.

“The last two weeks was a good amount of time for me to recover and hopefully get myself fit for the weekend,” he said. “The hamstring feels much better and the time off certainly helped.”

Following training, Preki also commented on Sam Cronin’s departure from the team. The midfielder’s trade to San Jose Earthquakes was completed yesterday in exchange for allocation money.

“We obviously have quite a few guys in that spot and we didn’t want to slow Sam in his growth,” explained the coach. “He did a pretty decent job for the club when he was here and we thought it was best for both sides if he moves on and we move on.”

Tuesday June 15, 2010

[inline_node:4003]Julian de Guzman hopes to return to full training in time to face the Los Angeles Galaxy when MLS action resumes at BMO Field on June 26. The Toronto FC midfielder was doing some light running as the squad practiced in Oakville on Tuesday morning.

de Guzman missed three matches last month with a hamstring injury and suffered a recurrence of the problem during Toronto’s 0-0 tie against Kansas City Wizards on June 5. He underwent an MRI late last week which didn’t show a tear, so he should be able to resume full training by early next week.

A number of trialists are with the TFC squad this week including Canadian international midfielder Andrew Ornoch. He has previously played for Esbjerg in the Danish SuperLiga and Heracles Almelo in Holland. Midfielder Sam Cronin is not with the team as talks are currently underway regarding a potential trade.

After training for two days in Oakville this week, the team will head north on Wednesday for a three day training-camp.

Saturday June 12, 2010

[inline_node:3696]Toronto FC’s players returned to training at BMO Field on Saturday after a week off. The Reds don’t play again until June 26th when they are home to the Los Angeles Galaxy. Saturday’s session was the third annual Open Practice, presented by Danone, giving supporters the chance to watch the players up close.

“It’s good for the fans to come here and watch us practice and see what we do on a day-to-day basis,” said Toronto captain Dwayne De Rosario. “It is nice for us to be able to meet the fans and talk to the kids that have come out. Hopefully some of the kids can take some of the stuff they saw today back to their own junior clubs and it might help them improve as players.”

After a week where the players were able to relax, Assistant Coach Nick Dasovic thinks it is important for them to get back out onto the pitch. “We had a hard schedule so it was good for the boys to get away and have six days off but we have got to make sure that they keep their fitness levels up because we have a big second part of the season ahead of us,” explained Dasovic.

Friday June 11, 2010

After a week off, Toronto FC’s players will return to training tomorrow at BMO Field, and you can watch them! The team will be holding an Open Practice, presented by Danone.

Coach Preki will be putting the players through their paces starting at 12:00 p.m. Tickets cost $4 and can be purchased from the BMO Field Box Office at Gate 1. Fans will have the chance to get a players’ autograph after the training session and award winning DJ Wristpect and MC Lancelot will be providing music.

Midfielder Julian de Guzman will miss the next few days of training as he recovers from a hamstring injury. 2010 SuperDraft pick Nane Joseph remains sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained in the goalless draw against Vancouver Whitecaps.

Saturday June 5, 2010

7:00 p.m.

[inline_node:4002]Toronto FC midfielder Julian de Guzman suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury during Saturday’s 0-0 draw at home to Kansas City. Coach Preki confirmed after the match that de Guzman asked to be taken out of the game with 20 minutes left to play but the Reds had already used all of their three allowed substitutions. de Guzman had previously returned to action as a second half substitute in San Jose last week after missing the previous three matches with a hamstring strain.

Preki was forced to bring off Gambian midfielder Amadou Sanyang at half time due to illness against K.C. “Amadou came off the pitch at half time and was feeling sick. He felt dizzy,” said Preki in his post-match press conference.

Another injury brought an enforced substitution midway through the second half. Chad Barrett took a blow to the leg and was unable to continue. “I wish I was able to keep playing and it is unfortunate that I had to come off because then Julian was forced to stay on with a tight hamstring,” said Barrett.

The players will now have a week off heading into the World Cup break and do not return to action until Saturday, June 26th at home to Los Angeles Galaxy. Defender Nick Garcia will miss that match due to suspension after getting a straight red card in the first half against the Wizards.

Friday, June 4, 2010

3:00 p.m.

Following FrIday’s practice at Lamport Stadium, Toronto FC coach Preki confirmed that defender Joseph Nane will be sidelined for four to six weeks. The defender dislocated his right shoulder in the 0-0 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday.

Apart from the injury to Nane and suspension for Martin Saric, Preki has a full squad to choose from for tomorrow’s match at home to Kansas City Wizards.

Midfielder Jacob Peterson has seen his playing time increase in recent weeks and he is hoping to use the World Cup break to get back to full fitness after missing pre-season this year recovering from an  ACL injury.

“It’s still a battle for me,” says Peterson. “I still have tough days fitness wise and yesterday wasn’t a great day for my knee. It’s one of those things where you have to get used to it and keep getting sharper and try and get match fitness back. I am getting better every day but I still have to work hard to get back to where I was before the injury and hopefully over the next few weeks I can do that.”

Peterson has made six MLS appearances so far this season, starting three of those matches.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

2:00 p.m.

[inline_node:3975]Following Wednesday’s Canadian Championship celebrations, Toronto FC’s players returned to training Thursday morning in Oakville. The Reds are preparing to face Kansas City Wizards at BMO Field on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. (live on CBC).

After making his comeback from injury in last night’s 0-0 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps at BMO Field, defender Ty Harden says he is feeling good and now just needs to get his match fitness back.

“I felt fine again in training this morning. It was good to get the 90 minutes in for my fitness. My leg is a little bit sore here and there, but during the match it was fine. Now it is just about getting back to full fitness and that will come with playing games. It was perfect timing for me to come back and play in the match because we had already won the cup.”

Joseph Nane watched on from the sidelines as the team trained. The Cameroon born defender dislocated his right shoulder in against Vancouver. Emmanuel Gomez continues to recover from his knee injury and has now progressed to light running.

Toronto FC Assistant Coach Leo Percovich will not be on the bench for Saturday’s match. He has been suspended for one game following his sending off during last week’s win at San Jose and will have to watch from the stands. Midfielder Martin Saric is also suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season at  Buck Shaw Stadium last week.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

10:30 p.m.

[inline_node:3957]Toronto FC SuperDraft pick Joseph Nane will be assessed further on Thursday morning after leaving in the first half of Wednesday night’s 0-0 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps with a dislocated right shoulder. The Cameroon born defender had started the match in the centre of defence.

The game against the Whitecaps saw a return to action for Ty Harden. The off-season signing from Colorado got through 90 minutes with no problem. Harden missed the last seven games with a deep cut to the knee sustained during the opening match of this year’s Canadian Championship against Montreal Impact.

History was created for Toronto with members of the Academy being called-up to play for the first team for the first time. Canada Under 20 international Doneil Henry started the match at right back but moved into a more familiar position in the centre of the defence after the injury to Nane. Allando Matheson started the match up front, and Nicholas Lindsay came on at half time and played the second 45 minutes on the right side of midfield.

Goalkeeper Milos Kocic made his Toronto FC debut. The 24-year-old got his first taste of action for the team but was rarely tested.

The players who were not in the squad on Wednesday night will return to training Thursday morning ahead of Saturday’s match against Kansas City Wizards at BMO Field.

Monday, May 31, 2010

5:00 p.m.

Seven players from  Toronto FC Academy have been added to the provisional roster for Toronto FC’s Nutrilite Canadian Championship match against Vancouver Whitecaps at BMO Field on Wednesday night (kick off 8:00 p.m.). The players trained with the team in Oakville on Monday and Coach Preki will decide on Wednesday which will be included on the matchday roster.

The players called up are:

Matthew Stinson
Doneil Henry
Nicholas Lindsay
Allando Matheson
Brennan McNicoll
Oscar Cordon
Sergio Camargo

Stinson is a 17-year-old midfielder who has represented Canada at various youth levels and made his debut for the Under 20 team in a friendly against Japan in mid May of this year. He joined TFC from Clarkson Comets. Brennan McNicoll is also a 17-year old midfielder who has represented Canada. He scored for TFC Academy in their 3-1 defeat at London in the Canadian Soccer League on Friday.

Other midfielders are Oscar Cordon who plays in a central position and came to the Academy from Dixie, and 15-year-old Sergio Camargo who was called up for Canada’s U17 training camp recently.

Doneil Henry is a 17-year-old defender from Brampton who previously played for North Mississauga. He made his Canada U20 debut along with Stinson in the recent friendly against Japan.

Two forwards, Nicholas Lindsay and Allando Matheson, have been included in the squad. Lindsay is a 17-year-old who joined TFC Academy from Brampton East. Matheson is 18 and previously played for North Scarborough.

Friday, May 28, 2010

3:00 p.m.

Toronto FC trained at Buck Shaw Stadium on Friday afternoon ahead of tomorrow’s match against San Jose Earthquakes. Coach Preki had no new injury concerns to report.

Julian de Guzman has trained all week after recovering from a hamstring injury that has kept him out of action for the last three matches. Preki kept his cards close to his chest as to whether the midfielder will be ready to start or be on the bench against the Earthquakes.

“Julian will be part of the team tomorrow. I don’t know in what capacity yet, but he has looked decent today and we will see how he goes tomorrow.”

Dwayne De Rosario trained with the squad on Friday for the first time since international duty with Canada in Argentina. “It is good to have him back,” said Preki. “He has done a lot of travel of late so we will wait and see what his involvement will be tomorrow.”

The match will be live on Rogers Sportsnet on Saturday at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

9:00 a.m.

Toronto FC’s squad left Thursday morning to travel to San Jose ahead of Saturday’s match against the Earthquakes. But before they departed from BMO Field, they stopped to give their reaction to becoming Canadian Champions following Vancouver’s tie in Montreal on Wednesday night.

[inline_node:3889]Coach Preki: It feels good. I am happy for the players because they have shown tremendous commitment as of late. They have worked hard and they fully deserve it. I know it means a lot to the fans but I hope it means a lot to us down here on the inside. We have shown that we can win things and be strong as a group and we can now get together even more and push for another challenge. Now our first focus is MLS and we will think about the CONCACAF competition when it comes.

Dwayne De Rosario (from San Jose): This is a great day for us as players as well as the fans. Winning back to back championships is a huge honour. The guys worked so hard to accomplish our first trophy for the year and it will be so great to get the trophy at BMO Field next week. We can’t wait to get back to celebrate with the fans.

Adrian Cann: It is great, although it doesn’t seem like we won because we weren’t playing. It is great knowing that we are champions. I can’t wait for next week to come back here and get the trophy in front of our fans.

O’Brian White:
It is very good for us to get our first trophy of the season and hopefully we can keep moving forward. We took it very seriously and worked hard. It is good to get in the habit of winning.

Jacob Peterson:
We were watching the game last night and it’s great news. It would have been nice to win it by playing, but it helps us out scheduling wise for next week’s match. Hopefully we can not just be the champions of Canada but do something in the Champions League as well.

Chad Barrett:
It is good that we didn’t leave it until the last game and we took care of business as we should have. It is a massive credit to the hard work that the guys have put in. Now we can put all of our focus on the last two league games going into the World Cup break and that could be very important to us come the end of the season.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

9:00 a.m.

Toronto FC will win the Nutrilite Canadian Championship tonight if Vancouver Whitecaps fail to beat Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo. After last week’s 0-0 draw against the Whitecaps at Swangard Stadium, Toronto remain top of the standings with seven points from three matches.

The Whitecaps have two points from two matches and will need to win both of their remaining games to deny the Reds the chance to lift the trophy for the second straight year. Should Vancouver win tonight in Montreal, the tournament will be decided at BMO Field on Wednesday, June 2 as the Whitecaps and TFC face each other. Toronto won the right to host the first and last matches of this year’s competition because they won the cup in 2009.

Tonight’s match will be broadcast live on Rogers Sportsnet East and West channels.

The winners of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship will qualify as Canada’s representatives in the CONCACAF Champions League and will play Motagua of Honduras in the Preliminary Round in late July.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

2:00 p.m.

[inline_node:3693]Julian de Guzman expects to be ready to return to action when Toronto FC take on San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday night. The midfielder has missed the last three matches with a tight hamstring but returned to training in Oakville on Tuesday.

“Today was my first practice for over a week and I am feeling good,” said de Guzman. “After a couple more practices I will hopefully get the momentum going and I should be alright for the San Jose game.”

Nana Attakora was also back on the training pitch Tuesday after sitting out the win over New England with injury. “I felt good today,” said the two-time Canada U20 Player of the Year. “Last week I had a tight hip flexor and I didn’t like the way I was feeling at all. I told the staff that I didn’t want to push it but I felt good today and got through training.”

Ty Harden is also back in full training now after recovering from the deep cut to the leg sustained in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship match against Montreal Impact. “Almost everybody was training today,” said coach Preki. “Ty trained fully this morning and I don’t see any setbacks so that is a good sign.”

Three trialists joined the Reds squad for training on Tuesday. “The guys looked o.k. this morning so we will just wait and see how they do,” said Preki. “I know one of the guys and will get to know the others this week. We are always looking to strengthen the squad.”

11:00 a.m.

Toronto FC got some welcome news on the injury front Tuesday with the return to training of two key players.

Midfielder Julian de Guzman and defender Nana Attakora both took part in the session with the rest of the squad indoors at Oakville Soccer Club.

de Guzman was training for the first time since pulling out of the pre match warm up in Los Angeles with a tight hamstring. Attakora missed Saturday's win over New England Revolution with a hip flexor injury.

Friday, May 21, 2010

1:00 p.m.

Toronto FC midfielder Julian de Guzman was running on the sideline as the rest of the squad trained at BMO Field on Friday. Coach Preki is not ruling the midfielder out of tomorrow’s match against new England Revolution just yet. “He was running this morning so we will talk later and decide what his status is for tomorrow,” said the coach.

There are no other injury concerns for Preki apart from the longer term absences. Ty Harden continues to recover from the deep cut sustained to his leg in the match against Montreal Impact earlier this month. Harden has now started running although Preki is not sure of the timeline for the defender’s return. “He is doing better and was running this morning. He is scheduled to see a doctor because the wound hasn’t healed fully yet, but he is making some progress.”

The Reds are without captain Dwayne De Rosario who is away on international duty with Canada in Argentina. “It is always a concern when your top scorer is not here,” said Preki. “But we have a job to do and we are confident that whoever is on the field will perform well.”

Maxim Usanov is  suspended after his sending off in the 0-0 tie against Los Angeles last week.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

3:00 p.m.

[inline_node:3450]Toronto FC’s players arrived back at BMO Field Thursday afternoon following Wednesday night’s 0-0 tie in Vancouver. Julian de Guzman traveled back to Toronto with the team. The midfielder was scheduled to fly straight from Vancouver to Buenos Aires to link up with the Canadian National Team but injury forced a change of plans.

de Guzman was included in the Canada squad to play Argentina on Monday, but will now miss the trip because of the hamstring injury that sidelined him from the Reds’ games against Los Angeles and the Whitecaps.

Toronto captain Dwayne De Rosario is currently on his way to Buenos Aires to join the Canada squad.

TFC will train on Friday at BMO Field as they prepare to face New England Revolution on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. (live on CBC).

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

3:00 p.m.

If Toronto FC qualify as Canada’s representative in the CONCACAF Champions League, they will face Motagua of Honduras in the Preliminary Round in late July.

The draw was made in New York today, and sees them up against former Red Amado Guevara’s current club.

If Toronto FC make it into the Group Stage, they would be in Group A along with Real Salt Lake, Arabe Unido of Panama and the winner of Panama’s San Francisco vs. Cruz Azul of Mexico.

Here’s the official press release from CONCACAF

Two-time runner-up Cruz Azul of Mexico will face Panama’s San Francisco in the Preliminary Round of the 2010-2011 CONCACAF Champions League while the Los Angeles Galaxy and Puerto Rico Islanders also will square off when the third edition of the tournament begins in July.

The draw conducted Wednesday by deputy general secretaries Ted Howard and Italo Zanzi at the confederation’s New York headquarters set the Preliminary Round pairings and matchups for the Group Stage.

Other Preliminary Round matches will have the Mexican Clausura runner-up -- either Santos or Toluca -- facing San Juan Jabloteh of Trinidad, Costa Rica’s Brujas facing Joe Public of Trinidad, the Canadian champion – either Toronto FC or the Vancouver Whitecaps – against Motagua of Honduras, and Xelaju of Guatemala against a Central America club.

The Seattle Sounders will face an as yet-to-be determined Central American side in the Preliminary Round, while Marathon – a quarterfinalist this past season – will take on Tauro FC of Panama.

Two berths originally were allocated to El Salvador, but FIFA has suspended the country due to governmental interference in the federation’s affairs. The government has until June 8 to comply with FIFA’s non-intervention requirements or its teams will be barred from international competition, including the Champions League – and its berths will be reassigned.

CD FAS already has qualified with one of El Salvador’s berths, and the second would go to either Aguila  or Metapan.

Cruz Azul reached the finals in the first two years of the Champions League, losing to fellow Mexican sides Atlante in 2009 and Pachuca in May. This is the third consecutive season Cruz Azul has been forced into the Preliminary Round and is one of six teams to qualify each year since the Champions League was inaugurated.

In the Group Stage, MLS champion Real Salt Lake will lead Group A with Arabe Unido of Panama, the Cruz Azul-San Francisco winner and the winner between the Canadian champion and Motagua.

Group B will consist of the Columbus Crew, Municipal of Guatemala, the winner between Jabloteh and Toluca/Santos, and either Brujas or Joe Public.

Monterrey will head Group C, potentially the most difficult, with Costa Rica’s Saprissa, the Seattle-Central America 12 winner and either Tauro or Marathon.  The Mexican Clausura champ, either Santos or Toluca, will top Group D with Olimpia of Honduras, the Galaxy-Islanders winner and the Central America 11-Xelaju winner.

The tournament will begin July 27-29 with the first leg of the Preliminary Round and the second leg a week later. The winners will advance to the Group Stage, the first round is set for August 17-19.

(Host of first leg listed first)
Central America 11 vs. Xelaju (GUA)
Brujas (CRC) vs. Joe Public (TRI)
San Juan Jabloteh (TRI) vs. Santos-Toluca (Mexican Clausura runner-up)
San Francisco (PAN) vs. Cruz Azul (MEX)
Los Angeles Galaxy (USA) vs. Puerto Rico Islanders (PUR)
Tauro FC (PAN) vs. Marathon (HON)
Seattle Sounders (USA) vs. Central America 12
Toronto-Vancouver (Canadian champion) vs. Motagua (HON)

Group A
Real Salt Lake (USA)
Arabe Unido (PAN)
San Francisco/Cruz Azul winner
Toronto-Vancouver/Motagua winner

Group B
Columbus Crew (USA)
Municipal (GUA)
San Juan Jabloteh/Santos-Toluca (Mexican Clausura runner-up) winner
Brujas/Joe Public winner

Group C
Monterrey (MEX)
Saprissa (CRC)
Seattle/Central America 12 winner
Tauro/Marathon winner

Group D
Santos/Toluca (Mexican Clausura champion)
Olimpia (HON)
Los Angeles Galaxy/Puerto Rico Islanders winner
Central America 11/Xelaju winner

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5:00 p.m.

[inline_node:3578]Toronto FC trained in the rain in Vancouver on Tuesday afternoon. It was the team’s final training session before Wednesday night’s Nutrilite Canadian Championship match against the Whitecaps.

Coach Preki will continue to assess his squad’s fitness over the next 24 hours before deciding on his line-up. “Some of the guys are banged up so we will see what happens over the next 24 hours.”

Midfielder Julian de Guzman pulled out of the warm up ahead of Saturday’s match against Los Angeles Galaxy. Preki says: “It is possible that Julian may be able to play.”

Monday, May 17, 2010

1:24 p.m.

After a win in Montreal and a tie at the league leading Los Angeles Galaxy, the final stop on Toronto FC’s three match road trip is in Vancouver. The Reds face the Whitecaps on Wednesday night at Swangard Stadium in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship knowing a win would see them lift the trophy and qualify as Canada’s representative in the Preliminary Round of the CONCACAF Champions League.

Julian de Guzman is a major doubt for Wednesday’s match with a hamstring injury. The midfielder pulled out of Saturday’s 0-0 tie at the Home Depot Center after aggravating a hamstring strain that he initially felt during the win in Montreal. O’Brian White is also doubtful for the match with an ankle sprain. Dan Gargan could return to action after missing the last two matches with an ankle injury sustained during the win over Chicago on May 8.

After his sending off late in the game against the Galaxy, Russian right back Maxim Usanov is available for selection on Wednesday night, but will be suspended for Saturday’s home match against the New England Revolution.

Toronto FC’s players enjoyed a day off in  Los Angeles on Sunday and are travelling to Vancouver today. They will arrive in B.C. late afternoon and will train in Vancouver on Tuesday morning.

The match on Wednesday will kick off at 10:30 p.m. live online at A delayed broadcast will be shown on Rogers Sportsnet East and West at 11:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

3:30 p.m.

Toronto FC’s players didn’t have long to enjoy their win against Montreal in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. The team arrived in Los Angeles mid afternoon after taking an early morning flight from Montreal Thursday.

The team went through a regeneration session after arriving in LA. They will train again on Friday afternoon as they prepare to face the league leading Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night at 10:30 p.m. live on Rogers Sportsnet.

Preki will assess the fitness of Dan Gargan on Friday. The utility player missed the win in Montreal with an ankle injury but is with the team in Los Angeles.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

10:30 p.m.

Toronto FC produced a solid, well organized and professional performance to kick off their three match road trip with a 1-0 win in Montreal. Dwayne De Rosario and O’Brian White will be assessed in the morning after coming off with slight knocks, although neither player looked to be seriously hurt, just a bit banged up. Dan Gargan wasn’t included in the squad for the match as he continues to recover from an ankle injury picked up in the win over Chicago.

Five TFC Positives:

1. First Away Win: It’s wasn’t a league match, but it doesn’t matter. Toronto FC produced their best away performance of the season and will get a much needed boost in confidence ahead of a tough road game in LA.

2. Clean Sheet: No goals conceded on the road for the first time in 2010. The central defensive partnership of Adrian Cann and Nana Attakora continues to develop and looks impressive.

3. Barrett Strong: Good play from Chad Barrett to set up the goal for Dwayne De Rosario. Barrett made an impact coming off the bench at half time and looks to be rounding into form after scoring two at the weekend.

4. Gala Took His Chance: Gabe Gala was given another opportunity to start against Montreal and he took his chance well. He looked lively on the left side of midfield in the first half and looked equally at home when he switched to the right after the break.

5. Pressure Off: The win over Montreal means TFC will not have so much pressure on them to get a positive result against Vancouver next week at Swangard Stadium in what will be the third road game in the space of a week. Two draws from the final two matches against the Whitecaps will be enough to win the NCC.

The squad will leave Montreal on Thursday to fly to Los Angeles ahead of a clash with the league leading Galaxy on Saturday night at Home Depot Center.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

12:00 p.m.

After training at BMO Field on Tuesday morning, Toronto FC’s players left for Toronto City Centre Airport to board a plane to Montreal ahead of tomorrow night’s Nutrilite Canadian Championship match against the Impact.

Dan Gargan missed training again on Tuesday with the ankle injury sustained in the win over the Fire and remains questionable.

Monday, May 10, 2010

1:00 p.m.

Apart from the longer term absences of Ty Harden and Emmanuel Gomez, utility man Dan Gargan is Toronto FC’s only injury concern heading into the Nutrilite Canadian Championship match at Montreal Impact on Wednesday night.

Gargan missed training Monday as he recovers from an ankle injury picked up in the win over Chicago and coach Preki says the 27-year-old is “questionable” for the clash with Montreal.

“He’s been on the sideline today and is questionable for Wednesday,” Preki said after training in Oakville. “Ty Harden is out but the rest of the group is ok. They trained this morning and we will make a decision on the team tomorrow.”

The Reds will train at BMO Field on Tuesday before leaving for Montreal later in the day.

10:00 a.m.

Toronto FC trained at Oakville Soccer Centre on Monday in preparation for Wednesday's Nutrilite Canadian Championship match at Montreal.

Midfielder Amadou Sanyang was able to train after recovering from an injury that forced him to leave the win over Chicago on Saturday. [inline_node:3736]

Dan Gargan did not take part in the session as he rests a sore ankle. The former Puerto Rico utility man rolled his ankle during the second half against the Fire.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

7:00 p.m.

Gargan Injury To Be Assessed

Dan Gargan’s fitness will be assessed at BMO Field on Sunday. The defender made his fourth start of the season in the 4-1 home win over Chicago Fire, but picked up an injury towards the end of the game.

“I rolled my ankle,” he said in the locker room at full time. “As I tried to play the ball, my foot planted and I got tackled from behind and rolled it a little bit. It’s a little sore right now but it doesn’t seem too bad. I will be in here tomorrow to get some treatment and have the doctor take a look at it. Hopefully it will be alright because we have got a long week ahead.”

Friday, May 7, 2010

2:00 p.m.

Reds Welcome Impact To MLS

Just had a chance to catch up with some of TFC’s Canadian internationals to get their thoughts on the announcement that Montreal will be joining Major League Soccer in 2012. As you would expect, everyone is very positive about the news. Here’s what they had to say:

Defender Adrian Cann:[inline_node:3408]

“It is wonderful for Canadian football. It will give our game much more exposure worldwide to have three teams in the top league in North America. It gives kids the chance to play professional football at home. With Vancouver and Montreal coming in it is wonderful. People from Montreal are very passionate about the game and also about rivalries with Vancouver and Toronto. The rivalry and passion is going to increase and be a big benefit for the league.

Captain Dwayne De Rosario:

“I am a big fan of the development of soccer here in Canada and to see another team added in this country is great, especially with a good organization behind them. It is great for the league and also the development of youth soccer in Canada. Our games against Montreal are always competitive. The good thing for Montreal is that they already have a team so they have a base to build on and just need to transition to the league. I am very happy that they are now part of MLS.

Midfielder Julian de Guzman:

It’s excellent for Canadian soccer and will open more doors for our young talented players to give them the opportunity to play in MLS. It must also be good for the future of the national team as well. With a third team in MLS it will spice up the rivalry and be very good for MLS. A lot of Canadians are developing more interest in MLS and with Vancouver and Montreal onboard it will have a huge impact on the game. It is a special time to be a Canadian playing soccer in Canada.

10:00 a.m.

Toronto FC will train at BMO Field Friday morning as Preki’s team makes final preparations for Saturday’s match at home to Chicago Fire (kick off 4:00 p.m. live on CBC and The FAN 590).

The official MLS Injury report for the match shows Emmanuel Gomez and Ty Harden as the two absentees for Toronto. Martin Saric has bruised ribs following a clash in last week’s match at Real Salt Lake, but the midfielder has trained throughout the week and is expected to be available for selection.

Justin Mapp: [inline_node:3670]

Chicago Fire midfielder Justin Mapp is listed as OUT for tomorrow’s match due to the hamstring injury sustained in the tie with Chivas USA last week. Forward Collins John is rated as QUESTIONABLE. Forward Calen Carr, defender Steven Kinney and midfielder John Thorrington will miss the trip to Canada through injury.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

2:00 p.m.

Toronto FC trained indoors at Oakville on Thursday and there are no new injury concerns for coach Preki head of Saturday’s clash against Chicago Fire.

TFC Assistant Coach Nick Dasovic was at training after flying back from Vancouver through the night. Dasovic made the trip to B.C. to watch last night’s Nutrilite Canadian Championship match between the Whitecaps and Montreal Impact.

“It is important that we as a club watch the games live because it is different to watching them on television. I thought Montreal had the better of the play in the beginning but the Whitecaps came back and got a good draw. If you look at our situation, it is great for us as a club because they have taken points away from each other.“ said Dasovic.

Ty Harden continues to receive treatment at BMO Field. He told me Thursday that he is still in quite a lot of pain following the deep cut sustained to his leg in last week’s match against the Impact.

10:00 a.m.

Toronto FC are set to face a Montreal Impact side missing key players when the two teams meet in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship at Stade Saputo next week. The Impact had two men sent off in their 1-1 draw at Vancouver Whitecaps last night and are already without forward Roberto Brown who was given a two-match ban following his red card.

Montreal opened the scoring through Peter Byers in the 31st minute but Braz was sent off for a second yellow card following a foul in the penalty area and Marcus Haber tied the match for the Whitecaps with an 81st minute spot kick.

Reda Agourram was sent off in the closing stages of the match for violent conduct following a touchline altercation with Vancouver full back Chris Williams.

Toronto FC will travel to face Montreal at Stade Saputo next Wednesday, May 12 at 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

2:00 p.m.

Toronto FC defender Nick Garcia got through his second training session of the week in Oakville Wednesday as he continues to recover from the blow to the head sustained against Montreal a week ago.

Garcia told me after practice that he did not suffer any adverse reaction following his return to the pitch yesterday, but his hearing may not be back to 100 per cent for another month.

The team will train in Oakville again Thursday.

10:00 a.m.

After enjoying a night out at the KICKOFF Dinner on Tuesday night, Toronto FC’s players were back on the training pitch indoors at Oakville Soccer Club on Wednesday morning as they continue to prepare for Saturday’s match at home to Chicago Fire (4:00 p.m. live on CBC).

The Fire have a couple of injury concerns ahead of their trip north of the border with forward Collins John and midfielder Justin Mapp both missing training so far this week with hamstring injuries.

Mapp left Chicago’s 1-1 tie against Chivas in the 22nd minute last weekend, and John was pulled out of the line-up minutes before kickoff.

Mapp described his injury as “day-to-day” and John says it will be “Thursday at the earliest” before he can return to training.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Toronto FC defender Nick Garcia returned to training in Oakville Tuesday for the first time since taking a blow to the head in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship match against Montreal Impact.

Garcia was given four days off following the incident but underwent  testing Monday and was cleared to return to action.

Garcia believes he may need a week training before being ready to play in a match.

Meanwhile, coach Preki confirmed Ty Harden is likely to miss between 3 to 6 weeks as he recovers from the deep cut to his leg sustained in the same match.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Toronto fc trained in Oakville Tuesday morning ahead of Wednesday's Nutrilite Canadian Championship opener against Montreal Impact at BMO Field.

Amadou Sanyang was the only player not taking part due to injury, but coach Preki says a number of players are not fully fit. "we are a bit banged up. I will have to wait until tomorrow to see how everyone is, but there could be some changes to the line up," he said.


Friday, April 25, 2010

Toronto FC trained at Lamport Stadium on Friday morning with Gambian midfielder Amadou Sanyang remaining Preki’s only injury concern.

The 18-year-old started the training session but left early. Sanyang missed the 3-1 defeat in Colorado with a facial injury sustained in the home opener and also an ankle contusion.

In Friday’s session, the team played 11 against 11 and Preki used the scrimmage as an opportunity to see Chad Barrett and O’Brian White playing together up front, with Dwayne De Rosario dropping back into midfield.

The team will train at BMO Field on Saturday before facing Seattle Sounders FC at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday live on CBC.

Thursday, April 24, 2010

Toronto FC’s players trained at Oakville Soccer Centre Thursday morning as preparations continue for Sunday’s match at home to Seattle Sounders FC (kick off 2:00 p.m. live on CBC).

Gambian midfielder Amadou Sanyang is Preki’s only injury concern. Sanyang was unable to travel to Colorado with a knee injury sustained during the home opener win over Philadelphia Union last week. He returned to training on Wednesday but had to leave the session early. “He is the only injury problem we have right now, but hopefully as the week goes along he will get better and will be able to participate in training,” said Preki.

Preki is taking a look at Brazilian Andrei Ferreira Coutinho. The young winger is on trial with the Reds and trained with the team for the first time at Lamport Stadium yesterday.