February 21, 2007 Toronto FC story on Abbe Ibrahim (from Toronto Star)

Togolese star an instant hit
Ibrahim finds the net in his first game for Toronto FC

Feb 21, 2007 04:30 AM

Abbe Ibrahim took eight extra days to join Toronto FC at its Florida training camp, then took less than 50 minutes to score his first pre-season goal.

Ibrahim, who has played for Togo's national youth teams, had to wait for a visa before joining his new team in Sunrise, Fla. Yesterday morning he completed his physical and in the afternoon he scored one of Toronto FC's five goals in its shutout win over SoccerMax, a local club team composed of former MLS players.

Head coach Mo Johnston, who coached Ibrahim two seasons ago in New York, was eager to see how the forward would work with his new teammates, and liked what he saw.

"He's a player," Johnston said of Ibrahim, who scored two goals in 15 games with New York in 2005. "He's fast. He's strong. He creates chances for others and he'll score the odd goal himself."

Since arriving in Florida the team has defeated SoccerMax and a local team of Honduran expatriates, while splitting a pair of exhibitions against Canada's national under-20 team.

Despite their dominant performance yesterday, Johnston described his squad as tired. He likes the convenience of having a soccer field next to the team's hotel, but says the team is worn down by more than a week of two-a-day practices on a hard, lumpy field, and temperatures that approached 27C yesterday.

EDU NOT READY YET: Although first-round draft pick Maurice Edu originally thought he'd be ready to play by the end of the team's first stint in Florida, Johnston says the midfielder will stay on the sidelines for about three more weeks. Edu hasn't played since November, when he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his pelvis.

Johnston says Edu, a first-team All-American at the University of Maryland last season, can take all the time he needs.

"Even if he was out until the middle of the summer he'd be a great addition to our team," Johnston said. "He'll be a hell of a pro."

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