Toronto FC received a brutal reminder of the 4-0 loss they suffered against the LA Galaxy on the weekend when Robbie Keane, who netted a hat trick, was named Major League Soccer’s player of the week on Tuesday.
Next up for the Reds is a road trip to the Big Apple for a game against New York City FC on Sunday that will mark Frank Lampard’s MLS debut.
Here are some news and notes from TFC’s training session on Tuesday….
All quiet on the transfer front
The league’s secondary transfer window opens on July 8, which means Toronto can sign free agents, buy players via transfer, or make trades with other MLS teams.
TFC is currently missing four starters who are away on Gold Cup duty — Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore with the U.S., and Ashtone Morgan and Jonathan Osorio with Canada — and is dealing with some long-standing injury problems. Also, the right fullback position has been a problem area for the team when Justin Morrow (normally a left fullback) isn’t playing there in order to accommodate Morgan.
Could the Reds make some moves? Coach Greg Vanney said it’s quite possible, but first he has to sit down with general manager Tim Bezbatchenko and determine what kind of salary cap space they have, and identify the right players to go after.
“We don’t want to add somebody … just to fill a hole right now. We want to add somebody who we think can help us at a minimum for 18 months to two years. We don’t want to be reactive,” Vanney stated.
“(Bezbatchenko) and I are discussing what we feel are the needs for our group to progress and we’ll see how those pieces come together over the next couple of weeks.”
He later added: “Nothing is imminent. We have some ides and obviously some things have to come into play because in terms of our cap space we have to figure out exactly what we have available to us.”
Putting LA game behind them
Last weekend’s 4-0 loss to LA was the Reds’ worst performance of the season — one that the players and coaching staff want to forget and move on from as they prepare to head to New York.
Robbie Keane terrorized the Toronto defence, and the Galaxy outplayed the Reds for much of the game. But defender Damien Perquis didn’t quite see it that way when it was put to him by one reporter on Tuesday.
“You think they did well, or we did bad? No, it’s the second thing for me. We had a bad game. … I think it’s a game to forget now. We have a game on Sunday and that’s the most important thing. We have to forget this (LA) game,” Perquis bristled.
Vanney was just as forthright in his assessment of his team’s performance, saying “we should come away a little bit embarrassed about how we did.”
“The short of it is we flat out weren’t good enough. We were disjointed in a lot of ways as a collective group, and we had a lot of subpar (individual) performances in general. But as a group, we were not connected both offensively and defensively,” Vanney diagnosed.
Lampard set for MLS debut
Sunday marks Frank Lampard’s MLS debut, as he is expected to suit up for New York City FC against Toronto. Lampard has trained with NYCFC, but hasn’t played a competitive game since May 24 on the final day of the English Premier League season.
Vanney isn’t sure what to expect from Lampard or how New York will deploy him on Sunday.
“I don’t know exactly how they intend to use him based on their lineup and the positions they utilize. He’s a player who can create things, he arrives into the box late, he’s a goal scorer but he’s also (a set-up man) for them,” Vanney said.
“Obviously he’s a guy we need to be aware of but without seeing him in this league it’s tough to say how he’ll immediately adapt. That’s always a challenge for players who come from international leagues.”
More starts for Chapman?
After making four substitute appearances earlier in the season, Canadian midfielder Jay Chapman earned his first MLS start in LA. The 20-year-old native of Brampton, Ont., played 70 minutes against the Galaxy before being subbed out.
“I think it went pretty well for me personally. As a team we’re only as good as each other. That performance was okay for my first start … It was my first start, and hopefully I can improve from where I began.”
He later added: It’s a milestone in my career, and it’s awesome that the coaching staff was able to put their faith in me for that game. … I’m thankful that I got to play against (LA). It’s a starting point for me and I’m very excited.”
Right fullback Mark Bloom is back in full training with the team, having dealt with a variety of injuries — he has yet to play a single minute this season. Warren Creavalle had a poor outing in LA, and Vanney didn’t rule out Bloom possibly starting on Sunday.
Veteran defender Steven Caldwell (calf) and youngster Clement Simonin (knee) remain out with long-term injuries. Caldwell worked out with TFC 2, the club’s USL team, on the weekend and Vanney said he still needs to get some real training with the first team under his belt before he can return to the lineup.
Forward Bright Dike, recently recalled from his NASL loan, is available to play in New York. Luke Moore is back with the team — he missed the LA match so he could fly back to England due to a death in the family.