April 19, 2007 Toronto FC Notebook (from CBC Sports Online)

Toronto FC Notebook
Thursday, April 19, 2007
by John Molinaro
Each week, CBC Sports Online's John Molinaro brings you latest news from the Toronto FC locker-room and training sessions.

TORONTO SIGNS DANNY DICHO - Toronto added another striker Tuesday when it signed Danny Dichio from English club Preston North End.

Coach Mo Johnston believes Dichio is a key addition for the club, which has been outscored 6-0 in their first two games of the season.

"Danny will hold the ball up for us. He's someone different in this league," Johnston told reporters Tuesday.

"Danny won't be muscled off the ball easily. He's good in the air and good on set pieces," added Johnston.

Johnston thinks Dichio will compliment the talents of forwards Edson Buddle, Alecko Eskandarian and Conor Casey.

"We have enough strikers to score goals. Buddle is one of the all-time leading goal-scorers in the league Eskandarian can score. I know Dichio can score and Conor Casey can score, so there's four quality strikers right there."

Buddle is anxious to break out of his scoring slump.

"Two games have gone by and hopefully a third doesn't pass without us scoring a goal. For me, it's been a little bit frustrating not being able to score," the Toronto forward told CBC Sports Online.

"I think once we get moving collectively as a team and learn how to defend with all 11 players, we'll look more dangerous in their half and start our attack from inside their half instead from our back line."

Coach Johnston said Canadian forward Andrea Lombardo, a member of the club's youth development roster, "will get his chance" before the season ends.

Johnston also said he's looking to sign another goalkeeper. Rookie Tomer Chencinski, another youth member, has backed up starter Greg Sutton through the first two games of the campaign.

"We won't be sticking with Tomer. We're certainly looking," said Johnston, adding that he hopes to announce the signing of a new goalkeeper before the end of the week.

WYNNE, GOLDTHWAITE COME ABOARD - Toronto also bolstered its defence by making two separate trades on Wednesday with the New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo.

In exchange for Marvell Wynne, the son of the former major-league baseball player with the same name, New York get Toronto's second-round selection in next year's MLS draft and partial allocation money.

Toronto receives Kevin Goldthwaite and a first-round pick in the 2008 MLS draft in the Houston deal for midfielder Richard Mulrooney, who leaves the Canadian club after just two games - the team acquired the Memphis native last month in a trade with FC Dallas.

RONNIE O'BRIEN UPDATE - Toronto suffered a big blow two weeks ago when midfielder Ronnie O'Brien partially tore a ligament in his right knee during practice.

O'Brien was expected to be out for four to six weeks, but the Irishman, who travelled to Dallas to receive treatment, was back training with the club in Toronto this week and is hopeful he'll be available to play in the club's home opener on April 28.

"I ran today for the first time, it feels not bad. I'm going to progress, try and work a little harder on it, and run a little bit harder," O'Brien told CBC Sports Online on Tuesday.

"I'm hoping it'll be two weeks at the most. I worked hard on it last week, I was back in Dallas doing strength and stability work to try and work on my knee overall."

OTHER INJURY NEWS - Canadian defender Chris Pozniak, hobbled by a nagging hamstring injury, told CBC Sports Online he hopes to resume training with the club this week.

"If this week goes well, then there's no reason why I shouldn't be available for the next game," said Pozniak.

Coach Johnston said Canadian defender Adam Braz was "still well short of fitness".

3-5-3 vs. 4-4-2 - Now that Toronto has added two more defenders, look for Johnston to ditch to the 3-5-2 formation he used in the first two games of the season for a more traditional 4-4-2 setup.

"We can't play in that system (3-5-2) because we don't have enough players," Johnston said Tuesday before the trades with New York and Houston were made.

"If you look at the last game, was it ideal that we went with a 3-5-2? Not at all," said the Scot.

"As soon as we get [Wynne and Goldthwaite] in, we can play [4-4-2]," added Johnston.

DEFENSIVE WOES - So why has the defence struggled so badly through the first two games of the season?

CBC Sports Online picked the brains of several Toronto players this past week. Here's what they had to say:

Midfielder Carl Robinson - "It's a disappointing start for us. Everyone knows we're an expansion team; it's a new team and it takes a while to gel. One or two key injuries, Ronnie and Maurice Edu, have hurt us. We have injuries in the back four with Chris Pozniak and Marco Reda, so we haven't really been settled and I think that's told in the first two games."

Midfielder Ronnie O'Brien - "We can blame our defenders, and our forwards are not scoring goals, but in general, as a team I don't think we've played as well as we can. We have a talented team, we really do. We're going to have a couple of kinks here and there, but for the most part we have a pretty talented team; we just haven't played up to our potential yet."

Goalkeeper Greg Sutton - "We're not completely organized and we're not on the same page as much as we'd like to be. Obviously, being a new team you're going to expect some of that to happen, but at the same time the guys are all professionals and demand a lot more out of ourselves."

Forward Edson Buddle - "We have good defenders here. It's just a matter of communicating early and shifting as a unit, and getting everyone on one side of the field when we can. Teams are easily breaking us down and getting their chances in lump sums."

Defender Adam Boyens - "You can't get out-worked on the field, and I think there's been times when we haven't worked hard enough. That comes with playing together and being able to work with each other. It also comes with a little heart, a little discipline and playing as hard as we can for 90 minutes."

Defender Chris Pozniak: "I don't think the problem has been at the back at all, I think it's a team thing. We haven't gelled together. We're not all on the same page."

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