April 18, 2007 Toronto FC sign Danny Dichio (from Toronto Star)

Toronto FC seeks help

Struggling squad adds Dichio to help kick-start feeble offence as other signings loom

Apr 18, 2007 04:30 AM
MORGAN CAMPBELL
SPORTS REPORTER

Toronto FC striker Edson Buddle understands how fans can look at the team's scoring no goals in two games and question his effectiveness, but he doesn't take it personally.

Fellow forward Conor Casey knows the team has signed yet another striker, England's Daniele Dichio, but he's not taking that personally, either.

But both men are taking notice.

They say they're not panicking, but after two scoreless games, Toronto's forwards realize they are under pressure to produce.

"For me (and the team) to go two games without scoring a goal gets a little frustrating, but we have to be positive," said Buddle, who once scored four goals in a game while playing for the Columbus Crew.

Yesterday, head coach Mo Johnston confirmed that Dichio, a 32-year-old who had played with Preston in England's Championship division, was signed by Toronto FC last Friday. Dichio, who scored seven goals in two seasons at Preston, is similar in size and style to Casey.

"People say, `You have three quality strikers,' but who's to know? Maybe one will go," Johnston said. "(Dichio's) a guy who can hold the ball up. He won't be muscled off the ball easily. He's good in the air and he's good at set pieces."

Dichio's arrival hasn't made Casey insecure about his status with the club.

"It's business," said Casey, who played for both Toronto FC and its reserve team last weekend. "You're always going to have competition on your team. I think it's good ... it helps push everyone."

Confirmation of the Dichio deal comes on the same day Johnston's former team, the New York Red Bulls, signed Aston Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel.

Monday, the Columbus Crew announced they had signed Argentine Guillermo Barros Schelotto to a one-year contract.

Johnston expects to sign an overseas player of similar stature eventually, but said he probably won't do it before the end of this season.

He's interested in a small group of players whom he won't name and said he'll make a move only when one of them becomes available.

Meanwhile, Johnston traded for a defender yesterday whom he also wouldn't name until the trade becomes final with the league office. He did, however, promise a player with plenty of speed and skill and hoped the player would practise with the team today.

"He's not someone that's over the hill," Johnston said. "He's fast. In fact, he's lightning. That's something that we need on defence."

NOTE: Midfielder Ronnie O'Brien resumed running yesterday. He hasn't practised or played since injuring a knee ligament two weeks ago. O'Brien said he hopes to play again within two weeks.

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