Tag Archive | "Guevara"

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Hot streak continues with win over Toronto

Posted on 29 June 2009 by Patrick McShane

Real Salt Lake rolled to an impressive victory over Toronto FC in front of 18,188 fans at Rio Tinto Stadium Saturday night. While it was not their largest margin of victory for the season, it was easily to the best team performance for RSL and a victory that should give the squad confidence over the next month as they will lose a glut of midfielders to the Gold Cup competition.

Skip right to the photo gallery.

It was a fond farewell to captain Kyle Beckerman, starting his last match before leaving to join the U.S. Men’s National Team next weekend. Beckerman scored a goal and proved to be dangerous against a lackluster Toronto side all evening. Already without integral midfielder Will Johnson, who left to join the Canadian National Team earlier in the week, as well as suspended defender Jamison Olave, RSL desperately needed someone to step up and guide the team to victory. Fortunately for the team and its supporters, there were a number of heroes Saturday evening.

Early in the match it felt as though victory could go either way. Both teams created chances but neither had the finishing prowess to take the lead.

“I felt like Toronto was winning most of the 50-50 battles in those first 15 minutes, but then slowly but surely we got into it. And then we get that goal and I think it really changes things.”

“That goal” which coach Jason Kreis is referring to came in the 21st minute when striker Yura Movsisyan took a sloppy back pass from Toronto midfielder Amado Guevara and ran untouched for 30 yards before coolly chipping the ball over Toronto keeper Stefan Frei. It was Movsisyan’s 3rd goal in four matches, and a goal that broke open the floodgates of RSL control for the remainder of the evening.

Less than 15 minute later RSL had another opportunity to bury Toronto after continuing to pressure the final third. Movsisyan continued to pressure and fight Toronto’s defenders all over the pitch, eventually finding himself open on the right wing. While Beckerman reached Movsisyan’s low cross right in front of goal, he tried to finesse the shot and instead hit the ball straight to Frei.

Thankfully Beckerman was able to make amends just a few minutes later when he knocked home a beautiful pass from Javier Morales right in front of goal. It was the 4th assist of the season for Morales as he has struggled to match his output from last season, while Clint Mathis also earned an assist on the play, which placed him in a three-way tie for 2nd place in assists for the season with 6 helpers.

RSL eventually finished Toronto off late in the second half when Ned Grabavoy fought off three players in the middle of the pitch and found a wide-open Mathis on the right wing. Taking his time to set up the shot, Mathis easily put the ball past Frei for the third tally of the match, capping another magnificent performance this season. Noted Mathis after the match: “I just feel good. I’m actually happy to play soccer here, and I think there were a few years where different circumstances were happening and I was almost thinking ‘What was I doing in the sport? It’s not making me happy,’ and I always said that I’d quit when I wasn’t happy.”

The win comes at a crucial time, as RSL will now face the next two league matches without Beckerman, Johnson, and rookie midfielder Jean Alexandre. While they are undefeated in the last four matches, it will take a team effort equal to Saturday night for RSL to keep their hot streak alive and on track for playoff contention. “I think we’re getting back into form,” said Beckerman. “The confidence is coming back, Yura [Movsisyan] is heating up, and we’re getting goals in timely parts of the game, and if you do that, you can go far.”

Photo Gallery

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RSL PLAYER ASSESSMENTS

Rimando – Wasn’t really tested after the first twenty minutes. It was Rimando’s fourth shutout of the season and his third in the last six matches.

Russell – You have to respect Russell’s versatility and ability to fill in for the suspended Jamison Olave. The backline didn’t seem to miss a beat while Russell appeared to cage some of his inclinations to move forward on attack in order to remain conservative on defense.

Wingert – Probably Wingert’s best match of the season. It felt like he put forth a mentally strong performance marked with wise choices. He never appeared to be overmatched which is a nice change from some other performances this season.

Borchers – Many scoffed last season at his receipt of the defender of the year recognition for the team. Those who did should take one look at his performance this season and notice that he has again silently put together a stalwart season anchoring RSL’s defense.

Beltran – While I was admittedly harsh towards Beltran earlier this season, he has bounced back and proved me wrong over the past couple of weeks. I can’t help but feel that the newly utilized 4-3-3 formation feeds into Beltran’s natural abilities and has helped focus his defensive resolve.

Beckerman – It’s a shame that Beckerman put together his best all-around performance of the season right before he leaves for national team duty. It was exciting to watch the Beckerman of old dominate the defensive third while still finding the energy to push up on attack. I hope he can continue this newfound confidence upon his return.

Grabavoy – The loss of Johnson and Beckerman last season would have destroyed this squad. However, Grabavoy has added a great dynamic of leadership and veteran savvy that can’t be underestimated. His ability to set up Mathis for the 3rd goal was brilliant.

Morales – While the assist was a step in the right direction, Morales still has miles to go to earn the title of RSL’s best player. He needs to show up every match and not drift in and out depending on how physical the other team is playing. The next couple of weeks will be the perfect opportunity for him to shine.

Mathis – Mathis was deservedly winded late in the match, as he owned the right wing all evening. While his late goal seemed like a “gimmie,” it’s important to note that other RSL players have blown open shots on goal earlier this year.

Espindola – His return to RSL could be the greatest move by the front office all season. Espindola’s speed and left-footed ability is unrivaled on this squad and it’s a shame he also didn’t claim a goal as he set the offense in motion all evening.

Movsisyan – Just over a month ago I was cursing Movsisyan and wanting a change in attack. Now I can’t imagine this revamped squad without him on the pitch. His work-rate has always been there, but his production seemed to be lacking. Now he’s getting the goals and RSL seems to be back on track.

SUBS
Williams – Came on right before the final goal but had little to do outside of holding up the ball and controlling the tempo. Fans should be counting their blessings that Williams declined the invitation to join the Jamaican National Team, as he will be even more valuable during July.

Joy – It was a sentimental substitution as Joy saw his first minutes of the season after battling back from a crippling hamstring injury. Neither Wingert or Beltran were playing poorly, it just made sense to get Joy some time on the pitch.

Nunez – I’m not sure he even touched the ball in the final 2 minutes of added time.

MATCH FACTS

Toronto FC (6-6-4) vs. Real Salt Lake (5-6-4)
June 27, 2009 — Rio Tinto Stadium

Scoring Summary:
RSL — Yura Movsisyan 4 (unassisted) 21
RSL — Kyle Beckerman 2 (Javier Morales 4, Clint Mathis 6) 44
RSL — Clint Mathis 2 (Ned Grabavoy 2) 78

Toronto FC — Stefan Frei, Nana Attakora, Nick Garcia, Adrian Serioux, Jim Brennan, Dwayne De Rosario, Sam Cronin, Carl Robinson, Amado Guevara (Danny Dichio 46), Pablo Vitti (Marco Velez 69), Chad Barrett (Fuad Ibrahim 82).

Real Salt Lake — Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Robbie Russell, Tony Beltran (Ian Joy 83), Kyle Beckerman (Tino Nunez 91+), Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales (Andy Williams 75), Clint Mathis, Yura Movsisyan, Fabian Espindola.

Misconduct Summary:
TOR — Chad Barrett (caution; Reckless Foul) 46+
TOR — Jim Brennan (caution; Reckless Foul) 51
TOR — Pablo Vitti (caution; Goalkeeper Interference) 61
TOR — Adrian Serioux (caution; Reckless Tackle) 65

Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Referee’s Assistants: George Gansner; Frank Anderson
4th official: Yader Reyes
Attendance: 18,188 / Weather: Clear -and- 77 degrees

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Toronto slips at home in battle of FCs

Posted on 04 August 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Kenny Cooper put Toronto FC to the sword on Sunday afternoon, scoring two late goals for FC Dallas to send John Carver’s side to their first Major League Soccer loss at home in 2008. TFC are falling fast after a great start to the season and now look likely to miss out on the playoffs unless they can turn things around.

Click here for our Dallas correspondent Phillip Woodruff’s take on Sunday’s game.

The sun was bearing down on BMO Field on a hot summer afternoon, fostering a sluggish start to the game from both sides. Toronto were taking the initiative through Rohan Ricketts and Jim Brennan’s overlapping runs down the left flank, but the FC Dallas defenders were able to keep goalkeeper Dario Sala from too much trouble in the early stages.

FCD coach Schellas Hyndman was forced into an early change in just the 6th minute, bringing in Michael Dello-Russo for midfielder Marcelo Saragosa, who was forced to leave the game with a calf strain.

The best chance of the first half came from Toronto’s centerback Marco Vélez, who found himself alone on the end of a Laurent Robert corner in the 19th minute but could only hit a bouncing shot straight at Sala.

Just moments later, Vélez made contact with Sala jumping for another corner, leaving the Dallas keeper winded and needing a few minutes, enough time for referee Baldomero Toledo to hand Vélez a yellow card. Replays showed that the contact appeared incidental at worst and hardly malicious.

The second half started lively, with both sides eager to make the breakthrough. Just after the hour mark, Bruno Guarda entered the game for Dallas and Tyler Hemming replaced Julius James in the Toronto lineup, instantly making his mark with several darting runs down the right flank.

It marked an interesting turnaround for the London, Ontario native, as Hemming had left the club earlier this season to pursue opportunites in Europe. With Jarrod Smith’s promotion to the senior roster, however, Hemming was able to rejoin the club as a senior development player and has made the most of that opportunity.

New signing Chad Barrett came close for the Reds in the 69th minute, collecting a headed clearance in the area and lashing a shot over Sala’s goal. The former Chicago striker appeared to have strained a calf muscle in the play and was substituted for Jarrod Smith after another lengthy delay.

The game’s real talking point came at the turn of the 79th minute, however. Kenny Cooper was looking for space on the left side when the whistle blew for an apparent off-the-ball incident in the 18-yard-box involving Amado Guevara and Pablo Ricchetti. Guevara sent the Argentine tumbling to the ground and was given a straight red card while Ricchetti tended a bloody nose.

photo credit: Chris Hazard

The foul took place in the penalty area, leaving FCD with an opportunity to take the lead from 12 yards. Cooper stutter-stepped to the spot and easily sent Sutton the wrong way, taking the lead and seemingly condemning 10-man Toronto to a first league defeat at home this season.

Toronto’s players were incensed with the call, with captain Brennan leading the protests and subsequently booked for dissent. Vélez contested another seemingly routine throw-in decision just minutes later too vigorously for Toledo, who issued the Puerto Rican his second yellow card, reducing TFC to nine men.

Amid coach John Carver’s protests, Toledo made his way to the sidelines and bizarrely sent off Toronto physio Carmelo Lobue.

Five minutes of stoppage time was greeted with ironic applause from the home fans, but their enthusiasm was short-lived as Cooper struck just seconds after the 90th minute mark. The free-scoring striker found space with two defenders ahead of him and struck a 30-yard shot at Sutton, who dove to his right but couldn’t keep out the bouncing ball.

Again, the Canadian goalkeeper looked as though he should have done better with the chance. The club’s recent streak may have dented Sutton’s confidence and could open the door for American prospect Brian Edwards to get the call in Colorado on Saturday.

Photo credit: Tim Drodge

Toronto’s ill-discipline may have done them in once again, but club captain Jim Brennan had other ideas.

“I think we’ve done alright, but the game got spoiled a little bit,” he said afterwards. “It was an entertaining game, we had them pinned in the second half there and we had a great chance, we felt we were going to score. Then, certain things happen and it wrecks the game, and that’s what happened today.”

FC Dallas defender and Canadian international Adrian Serioux had his own interpretation of events:

“It’s always good to come back and play in front of family and friends and get a result that we needed badly. You know it’s a great atmosphere and I’m sure the fans were behind their team, but when certain players on your team aren’t disciplined, as they were tonight, it’s costly, and that’s what happened to them.”

Coach Carver was reserved in his criticism of the officials, preferring to focus instead on the roster problems affecting Toronto.

“It’s frightening,” he told reporters after the game. “We only had 5 on the bench. There’s a reason for that, they’ve got to prove to me that they’re good enough to play and get on the bench… I think we might have to get (Academy coach and former Canadian international) Nick Dasovic to put his boots on!”

Carver refused to blame Barrett for the team’s scoring woes.

“He did some good things… I think he’s more of a poacher, he’s not a spectacular goal-man… The more he gets to know the guys the more he’ll get on, and I think he’s got goals in him. He needs to work on his fitness.”

With Sunday’s defeat, Toronto sit precariously in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, one point outside of the playoff reckoning with a game in hand over Los Angeles Galaxy.

The top two sides in each division will be seeded against the next-best four teams regardless of conference, leaving Toronto in a cross-division battle with the Galaxy, Chivas USA, Kansas City Wizards, Red Bull New York, Colorado Rapids and even outsiders San Jose Earthquakes for the last playoff spot. Just five points separate the eight-placed Galaxy from historical rivals San Jose in last place, who stole a 3-2 win over David Beckham and company on the weekend.

Toronto’s next chance to close the gap comes at Dick’s Sporting Goods park in Colorado on Saturday, a potentially must-win game for either side as they try to secure playoff action after missing out last season.

Match Facts

FC Dallas (6-6-7) vs. Toronto FC (6-8-4)
August 3, 2008 — BMO Field

Scoring Summary:
FCD — Kenny Cooper 12 (penalty kick [Ricchetti]) 81
FCD — Kenny Cooper 13 (unassisted) 90+1

FC Dallas Dario Sala, Drew Moor, Aaron Pitchkolan, Blake Wagner, Adrian Serioux, Andre Rocha (Bruno Guarda 64), Eric Avila, Pablo Ricchetti, Marcelo Saragosa (Michael Dello-Russo 7), Kenny Cooper, Dominic Oduro (Abe Thompson 74).

Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Daniels, Mike Graczyk, Jamie Watson, Chase Wileman

Toronto FC — Greg Sutton, Julius James (Tyler Hemming 65), Tyrone Marshall, Marco Velez, Jim Brennan, Rohan Ricketts, Amado Guevara, Carl Robinson, Laurent Robert, Chad Barrett (Jarrod Smith 70), Jeff Cunningham (Kevin Harmse 87).

Substitutes Not Used: Brian Edwards, Tyler Rosenlund

Misconduct Summary:
TOR — Marco Velez (caution; Reckless Foul) 27
DAL — Andre Rocha (caution; Reckless Foul) 57
TOR — Amado Guevara (ejection; Violent Conduct) 79
TOR — Jim Brennan (caution; Dissent) 81
TOR — Marco Velez (ejection; Second Caution) 84

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee’s Assistants: C.J. Morgante; Adam Wienckowski
4th official: Jorge Gonzalez
Time of game: 1:56
Attendance: 20,247
Weather: Sunny -and- 77 degrees

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Soaring Crew visit BMO

Posted on 15 May 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC and Columbus Crew will renew hostilities in the Trillium Cup on Saturday, with Toronto getting their chance to host their newfound rivals after a 2-0 loss in Columbus to begin the season on March 29th.

Since then, both sides have been in top form early this season after a momentary hiccup. Both sides lost their next match but Columbus have since recorded five straight wins while Toronto have gone on to a 3-1-0 record.

They’re not alone, however, with six of the seven Eastern Conference sides sitting at .500 or above. A win for Toronto on Saturday would put them five points back of Columbus at the league summit but with a game in hand and restore hope of winning the inaugural Trillium Cup.

The competition, which will be decided on the teams’ three regular-season encounters this season, will conclude later this season at BMO Field. If Columbus win the upcoming clash they’ll have an unassailable lead in the Trillium Cup standings despite facing another trip to Toronto on September 13th.

A win for the Crew would also represent Toronto’s first home defeat of the season. The draw with New York two weeks ago ruined an 100% record at BMO Field but John Carver’s men have yet to taste defeat since their home opener in April.

If the wheels are going to come off Columbus’ excellent league run, BMO Field may be the place for it. The typically buoyant home crowd will be in full voice on Saturday, with the burgeoning rivalry between both sets of fans exacerbated by the large amounts of Toronto fans who made the trip to Columbus earlier this year.

Injuries certainly haven’t helped Crew manager Sigi Schmid, with Duncan Oughton, Adam Moffat and Stefan Miglioranzi all sidelined for Saturday’s encounter.

Once again, Toronto aren’t reporting any injuries, a remarkable turnaround from last season and a testament to the physical training methods of the club’s new fitness coach John Winsper.

Joining the former Newcastle physio last week were staff members Nick Dasovic and Chris Cummins, reported on ASN last month and just recently made official by TFC.

One player that will hope to make a difference on the turf at BMO is Robbie Rogers, the most recent MLS Player of the Week based on his two goals in Columbus’ 3-2 win in San Jose last weekend. Argentine midfielder-forward Guillermo Barros-Schelotto was also on target for Schmid’s men, who will travel to Toronto as the team to beat in MLS.

With a clean injury list, Toronto’s selection dilemma lies in who to start up front. Danny Dichio has a goal to his credit this season but has been lonely up front in a 4-5-1 formation, and with four more games in two weeks following Saturday’s clash, Carver may be looking to reap the benefits of squad rotation.

Jeff Cunningham and Andrea Lombardo have been restricted to substitute appearances this season but could see starting time sooner rather than later, with Toronto balancing MLS play with their first Canada Cup appearance in Montreal on the 27th.

Amado Guevara, Rohan Ricketts and Laurent Robert are likely to reprise their roles as an attacking midfield trident for Toronto. None of the trio were TFC players yet during the club’s trip to Columbus in March.

Another new arrival has been defender Olivier Tébily, but the Ivorian has seen his playing time blocked by the stunning turnaround in Marco Vélez’s performances at the heart of Toronto’s back line. The Puerto Rican scored a free header against New York, with his own upturn in fortunes helping the club to a goals-against record of just 1 in their three home matches so far in 2008.

Between the sticks

Greg Sutton is set to start his fifth straight match for the club, having recovered from the trauma of being passed over in the early-season trip to Columbus in favour of draft pick Brian Edwards. The two straight clean sheets he recorded in the run-up to New York’s vist early this month pushed him past Kenny Stamatopoulos as the all-time shutout leader in Toronto’s short existence.

Crew stopper Will Hesmer

Will Hesmer has started every match for the Crew this season, conceding nine goals but making the difference on numerous occasions for his side. The 26-year-old made several important stops, including a penalty save, against Toronto in March.

A win against Columbus would improve Toronto’s home record to 3-1-0 ahead of another revenge mission next week, the visit of D.C. United to BMO Field in the last of a five-game home stand for Toronto. United were 4-1 winners at RFK Stadium in the second game of Toronto’s season, a match that marked not only Laurent Robert’s debut but Maurice Edu’s late consolation goal, a strike that seems to have marked a turning point for TFC this season.

Toronto FC vs. Columbus will kick off at 4 PM EST on CBC in Canada. Visit here for the Crew’s perspective.

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New era at TFC?

Posted on 13 April 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC fan sites were flooded with words of praise for the club on Sunday night, as those who weren’t part of the few that travelled to Los Angeles this weekend jumped online to celebrate their club’s first win of 2008. Read the full match report here.

The win gives TFC their first points of 2008, tightening things up in the Eastern conference early on and showing a vast improvement on the side’s 0 and 4 start to last year’s campaign. Three points from as many away matches is a decent return for the Reds, but having lost to two of their Eastern Conference rivals in the past two weeks meant that John Carver had to find a way to motivate his side to earn a result in Los Angeles.

The Galaxy had the best of the early exchanges but Greg Sutton was on hand to deny Landon Donovan on more than one occasion. Danny Dichio scored late in the first half after the Galaxy defence failed to clear a long ball from Guevara, but a lack of composure from the away side seemed to be at fault for Donovan’s quick equalizer. In the second, Jarrod Smith regained the lead for Toronto but a Donovan penalty pegged it back. In the late stages under the California sun, Jeff Cunningham’s late finish made it 3-2, and finally the Reds were able to hold on.

{democracy:4}

Toronto’s recent signings didn’t gel right away, getting overrun at times in the first half, but Greg Sutton’s goalkeeping kept the match in reach for his teammates. A lack of teamwork may have been at fault with Donovan’s instant reply to Dichio’s strike, but new boys Smith and Guevara shone in the second half.

Not only was it Toronto’s second away win in their short history, but this match may have marked a turning point for the young franchise in being the first time they had won largely against the run of play. The smash-and-grab raid reflected the Toronto forwards’ willingness to take their chances, which came with increasing frequency as Laurent Robert and Guevara asserted themselves in the midfield.

The one-touch passing in the side’s build-up to the third goal, after 80 minutes under intense heat, was a joy to watch — for arguably the first time since Toronto’s 4-0 win over FC Dallas last season, they were playing the beautiful game, well, beautifully. Guevara and Maurice Edu in particular were impressive in the center of the park.

One flaw in Toronto’s game was the slack defending from Marco Vélez, who may have lost concentration in the heat when he clumsily handled David Beckham’s cross to concede the penalty from which Donovan scored his second equalizer. Andy Boyens, the Kiwi centerback who made 23 appearances last season, has yet to play this year and is rumoured to be on his way out of the club to make room for the recent senior international signings.

Galaxy fans may have pointed to Cunningham’s manhandling of the last man back just ahead of his goal at the death, but in truth that goal had come just minutes after Beckham was lucky to avoid a call after making contact with a streaking Cunningham just outside the box.

Marvell Wynne covered a lot of ground on the right side and is quickly establishing himself as one of the league’s best fullbacks. Carver will be hard-pressed to adjust to his departure to the Beijing Olympics along with Maurice Edu later this year, with Kevin Harmse and youth player Nana Attakora-Gyan the immediate options to replace Wynne.

With three points in the bag, Toronto will be confident ahead of their home opener against Real Salt Lake on the 19th — but one look at the standings reveals just how competitive the league is. After TFC’s win, only four points separated first from seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Rohan Ricketts has joined up with the squad and may start against Salt Lake, while rumours of Olivier Tébily taking Vélez’s starting spot in the backline before next week persist on fan sites. If the club’s performance against the LA weather, players and arguably the official is anything to go by, they may make a serious push for a debut appearance in the league playoffs come October.

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TFC, new signings head to Hollywood circus

Posted on 11 April 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC’s 0 and 2 start to the 2008 Major League Soccer season has some fans looking angrily back towards last year’s inaugural campaign, where they lost their first four matches going scoreless in the process. A 2-0 loss in Chivas last year was followed by a 4-0 rout in New England, and it was deja vu this year, with the club falling by a deuce in Columbus and looking set to lose by four at DC United. There was one crucial difference, however, as Maurice Edu popped up at the death to send a looping header past United keeper Zach Wells to make it 4-1 — a minor blip on the scoresheet, perhaps, but a moment that could resonate with the confidence of Edu and his TFC teammates.

Ahead of Sunday’s visit to LA Galaxy, Edu, who was last season’s rookie of the year, will be joined in the midfield by two new arrivals. Laurent Robert joined the club in time to take part in the DC loss and looked bright, but it was a case of being the best of a bad bunch against the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup semifinalists. Another attacking player, Amado Guevara, has been signed in time for the LA trip and is likely to slot in at the head of a five-man midfield with Edu and Carl Robinson behind him.

The Honduran midfielder, 2005 league MVP with New York Red Bull, has been playing in his native country with Motagua after falling out with Chivas USA management at the start of last season. While his temperament means that the top MLS clubs weren’t lining up to re-sign the enigmatic midfielder, the BMO Field faithful are hoping that a sold out stadium with a passionate fan base will bring the best out of Guevara. Until his signing, the club were lacking options in midfield, forced to play either a flat four or a five-man line with youngster Tyler Hemming in the center.

With the midfield set, the only question marks for the Reds relates to the starting positions at the front and back. Head coach John Carver will have to choose between Jeff Cunningham’s pace and Danny Dichio’s power at the business end of the pitch, while defenders Tyrone Marshall and Marco Velez weren’t at their best in Washington, conceding two goals in the first six minutes. The alternative, New Zealand international defender Andrew Boyens, doesn’t seem to have made an impression on Carver in preseason despite a fine 2007 campaign.
More signings could be on the way to Toronto. Former Birmingham defender Olivier Tébily has been spotted on trial in the Queen City having dinner with Robert. The French defender would offer much-needed stability to the back line, and will have been hoping to impress Carver along with fellow triallist Rohan Ricketts. The ex-Barnsley winger would fill a gap on the right side of TFC’s midfield.

For Los Angeles, starting a season with a healthy David Beckham is better than any new signing, although new arrival Carlos Ruiz has provided much-needed ammunition up front. Along with Landon Donovan, Beckham struck against traditional rivals San Jose Earthquakes last week to earn the club’s first win of 2008. LA will be looking to make it two wins from two at the Home Depot Center and pass the .500 mark after starting the season with a 4-0 loss in Colorado.

Each squad has one player who might have some inside information on the opposition. Canadian Kevin Harmse was a regular in Ruud Gullit’s Galaxy squad last season, the hard-tackling foil to Beckham and Donovan’s flair. He joined up with Toronto in the offseason, and while Harmse will miss out on the LA game after his ejection in DC, his knowledge of their tactics will almost certainly have been utilized by the TFC management. Striker Edson Buddle went in the opposite direction early last season, and much has changed at both clubs since his move, but he knows first-hand what it’s like playing alongside Danny Dichio and — from this brief spell in New York — Amado Guevara.

Much is at stake for both sides, with Toronto eager to enter their home opener on April 19th with at least one point in the bag. Finding a winning momentum early on could be the difference in TFC’s playoff hunt. For manager Gullit and his Los Angeles side, every home game means pressure to succeed in front of the HDC crowd and the world media. Much will depend on how quickly the Canadian club’s new signings adjust to life in their new surroundings, with a trial by fire awaiting them in LA.

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