Toronto FC was back in training on Tuesday ahead of its road game against the Vancouver Whitecaps this weekend.
Here are some news and notes from today’s practice at the club’s training facility in Downsview.
Toronto FC striker Sebastian Giovinco sat out Tuesday’s training session in order to do individual rehab work, and coach Greg Vanney revealed the Italian is considered day-to-day ahead of the Reds’ visit to Vancouver.
Giovinco, 30, suffered a leg injury late in the first half of Toronto’s 2-2 draw with Philadelphia Union last Saturday when he was tackled by defender Oguchi Onyewu. He was helped off the field and was subbed out of the match.
“It’s day-to-day. We’ll see how he progresses [this week]. But he’s sore and going through normal recovery rehab stuff,” Vanney explained.
“He’s questionable [for Saturday’s game] because I’m not quite sure yet. We’ll see again between today and tomorrow to see where he’s at.”
Vanney hinted that Giovinco might not make the trip to Vancouver because it’s the kind of injury that could exasperate itself on turf. The Whitecaps play on an artificial surface.
TFC also has a bye next week, so the club could decide to take advantage of the extra time off and leave him at home, instead of rushing him back for Saturday’s match if he’s not 100 percent.
“In terms of walking and stuff like that, he’s getting around fine. But there’s a big difference between that and cutting and accelerating. … At this early point in the season, we’re not going to put him in a situation where he is less than full strength, especially going into a difficult place to play,” Vanney stated.
A NOT SO PERFECT START
After drawing 0-0 away to Real Salt Lake in their season opener, the Reds earned a 2-2 draw this past weekend against the Union in Philadelphia.
Two points from two road games isn’t a bad start to the campaign, but Vanney has mixed emotions about it.
“We didn’t play our best soccer. We had opportunities to win both games. We still came away in two difficult places on two difficult days with a point. We’ll take that,” Vanney offered.
“But when we look at the capacity of what we’re capable of doing and what our expectations are of ourselves, which are very high, we’re disappointed we didn’t take more out of one of the games, at least.”
Vanney went on to say that it’s still too early in the season to be too worries about the lack of wins after the team made it all the way to last year’s MLS Cup final.
“You never start the season where you finished the year before,” Vanney stated. “We have a lot of building blocks to still put into place. But we’re all very excited about getting some of these things cleaned up and putting them together because we know the end result will be, hopefully, some comfortable wins along the way.”
Right fullback Steven Beitashour missed the Philadelphia match after suffering a concussion in the season opener vs. Real Salt Lake. He is still going through MLS’s concussion protocol system, and he will not be allowed to suit up for TFC until he is cleared to play by the league. He didn’t train with his teammates on Tuesday.
Beitashour began the concussion protocol last week, but he had to start it all over again when he failed to clear one stage.
“We’re early in the week, so as long as he makes the [necessary] progress over the week, he’ll be okay by the weekend,” Vanney said.
Canadian defender Ashtone Morgan (recovering from foot surgery) remains out long-term, and is still several weeks away from returning to full training.
POSSIBLE ROSTER ADDITIONS
As of right now, Toronto FC has 25 players on its roster, but more additions could be made soon. MLS teams are allowed to carry 30 players on their senior rosters.
Two weeks ago, Vanney confirmed that they will sign striker Ben Spencer, who spent last year with the TFC 2, the team’s farm cub that plays in the second-tier USL. Vanney said Tuesday talks with Spencer are ongoing and near completion.
“That’s where things are at right now, just working out the details of things, and hopefully we’ll get that solved quickly,” Vanney said.
Finnish trialist Johan Bruneel, and fellow defender Oyvind Alseth, a third-round draft pick, remain with the team and could be signed.
QUICK LOOK AHEAD TO SATURDAY
Toronto will take on the Whitecaps on Saturday evening, the final match of the Reds’ three-game road trip to start the regular season.
Vancouver is coming off a 3-2 loss away to the San Jose Earthquakes. Starting goalkeeper David Ousted picked up a red card in that game, which means he will be suspended for Saturday’s contest against Toronto.
French defender Chris Mavinga, one of Toronto’s big off-season signings, made his debut in Philadelphia when he entered the game as a substitute—he missed the season opener to go back to France in order to be with his wife when she gave birth. Vanney feels the Frenchman, who also missed part of pre-season camp, is now up to speed and is ready to start if needed.
The Whitecaps won the lone match last season between these two sides, earning a 4-3 decision on May 14 at BMO Field.
TFC has a bye next week before returning to action on March 31 in their home opener versus Sporting Kansas City.