Tag Archive | "Olivier"

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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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Tébily in at TFC

Posted on 25 April 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Olivier Tébily has been signed by Toronto FC, confirming recent rumours that the French defender was on the verge of putting pen-to-paper with the Major League Soccer side.

The former Birmingham defender has been a regular at TFC training over recent weeks, with head coach John Carver finally getting his man on Thursday afternoon.

“We’re adding another experienced player to the squad,” Carver told the club’s website. “He’s had a good career, especially at Celtic and Birmingham. He’ll definitely improve the team with his versatility, as he can play either in the centre or on the right in the back.”

Tébily was a regular at center back, right back and central midfield for Birmingham over recent years, but he found first-team action difficult to come by in the Blues’ promotion season from the English Championship last year. His last senior appearance in English football came in October of 2006.

The Côte d’Ivoire-born defender’s contract with Birmingham was due to expire in June, but he reached an agreement with the midlands club to release him earlier this year. Tébily will add much-needed depth to the second-year club when Marvell Wynne and Maurice Edu travel to the Olympics in Beijing with the United States under-23 side this summer.

Tébily joins recent additions Laurent Robert and Amado Guevara as one of several new signings under Carver, who is also rumoured to be bringing in a new backroom staff as he looks to make his mark on the Canadian side.

Having already trained with Toronto’s players throughout the last two weeks, Tébily is expected to slot right into the side for Saturday’s match against Kansas City at BMO Field. Stay tuned to ASN for a forthcoming match preview on Friday.

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Home opener looms, roster taking shape

Posted on 15 April 2008 by Scott Ferguson

Toronto FC waived defender Andrew Boyens on Tuesday, freeing up an international roster spot on transfer deadline day. Unattached French defender Olivier Tébily is still rumored to be on TFC’s radar, as the ex-Birmingham stopper would bolster a central defensive unit consisting of Marco Vélez, Tyrone Marshall and draft picks Julius James and Pat Phelan.

The back line has hardly inspired confidence in their first three Major League Soccer matches as a unit, conceding eight goals including a clumsy penalty against LA Galaxy on Sunday. The side’s offensive output in California was enough to steal three points, however, and the crowd at BMO Field will welcome the side home as returning heroes after their 3-2 win in Los Angeles.

While Director of Soccer Mo Johnston and head coach John Carver were slow to bring in new faces over the offseason, they’ve come thick and fast in recent weeks, with the team’s poor performance in Columbus seemingly enough to spur on the signings of midfielders Laurent Robert, Amado Guevara and Rohan Ricketts. Both Robert, who had one game under his belt already, and Guevara were impressive in the LA win. Guevara set up Danny Dichio for the opening goal and Robert notched two assists in the course of the match, including a pinpoint pass for Jeff Cunningham to win the ball and finish past Steve Cronin late on.

Strikers Dichio, Cunningham and Jarrod Smith were all on the mark on Sunday, but fans are still hoping to see a young striker recruited in time for next week’s home game against Kansas City Wizards. Simon Lynch, the Scottish forward who was born in Montreal, has spent time with the Queensland Roar in Australia and would not count as an international on the Toronto roster. He has been rumoured to be a target for TFC.

As long as Dichio and Cunningham stay healthy, the front line has ample backup in Smith and Andrea Lombardo, but the starting duo could only garner 33 appearances between them in an injury-plagued 2007. Accordingly, ex-Newcastle United physio Paul Winsper has been brought in as a strength and conditioning coach, and his expertise appeared to show as Toronto stayed the sharper side in the California sun against Los Angeles.

Lombardo, the Canadian under-23 international, showed promise last season but may have been forced into extended first-team action too soon by the raft of injuries that faced Toronto. The Atalanta youth product has had success with Canada’s under-20 team but was largely restricted toto substitute appearances for Canada’s Olympic side in Beijing 2008 qualifying earlier this year.

With Toronto’s midfield finally set, the last pieces of the puzzle might consist in a starting centerback and more depth in the forward line, but it remains unlikely that Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the club’s owners, will use their Designated Player spot in 2008. With five straight home games on the horizon and just three points under their belt thus far, TFC’s notorious home advantage will have to serve them well in the coming weeks. The Reds wrap up their home stand on May 21st with a chance to exact revenge on D.C. United for the 4-1 drubbing they suffered at RFK Stadium last weekend.

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