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Edu scores filling Ferguson’s boots
April 8, 2009, 10:02 PM
Filed under: Former TFC Players, Maurice Edu

Maurice Edu bolstered his case for filling the void left by deposed skipper Barry Ferguson by claiming his first goal for Rangers in a 2-1 win at St Mirren.

Kris Boyd set the ball rolling with the opener, before Edu opened his goalscoring account for the club just 24 hours after stating his intention to make the most of Ferguson’s absence.

The United States international has so far spent the majority of his debut season at Ibrox kicking his heels on the sidelines but did his chances no harm with what proved to be the decisive goal in this clash.

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Golden chance for Edu?
April 4, 2009, 9:46 AM
Filed under: Former TFC Players, Maurice Edu

Rangers have today confirmed that midfielder Barry Ferguson and goalkeeper Alan McGregor have been suspended for two weeks without pay, following their conduct on the bench at the Scotland-Iceland world cup qualifier at Hampden Park on Wednesday night.

Both players, dropped to the bench from the starting line-up after a allegedly lengthy drinking session at the team hotel following the Scots’ 3-0 defeat to Holland in Amsterdam. They were also reported to have made V-signs at the press, hiding them amongst other gestures in the manner so beloved of naughty schoolchildren, whilst watching the Iceland game from the dug-out.

This could give former Toronto FC midfielder, Maurice Edu, a golden opportunity to step in and win a starting role with the ‘Gers.

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Welsh aims for a goal at Yeovil Town
March 3, 2009, 9:15 AM
Filed under: Andy Welsh, Former TFC Players

Yeovil Town winger Andy Welsh has been racking up the assists in the last few months – now he wants to grab a goal too.

The former Sunderland wide man took time to find match-fitness and form after missing pre-season when he was without a club.

But now Welsh is a regular in the Glovers’ side on the left flank and his set pieces have become a key component of Yeovil’s attacking play.

But he is yet to score in any of his 27 appearances in the green and white.

“As goalscorers you are judged on how many goals you score and as wide men you are judged on how many you create,” he said.

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Edu impresses against Hamilton
March 1, 2009, 9:38 AM
Filed under: Former TFC Players, Maurice Edu, Toronto FC

Walter Smith has backed Maurice Edu to be a major talent for Rangers after he impressed in a rare outing against Hamilton.

The United States international’s appearances have been limited in his first season at Ibrox after arriving from Major League Soccer with high expectations and a price tag of £2.7million.

But he was given his chance at New Douglas Park when Pedro Mendes was sidelined with a thigh strain picked up in training and Edu made the most of the opportunity by striking up an impressive midfield partnership with skipper Barry Ferguson.

Ferguson netted the only goal of the game to allow Rangers to move three points clear of Celtic in the SPL ahead of their game against St Mirren later in the day and Smith had nothing but praise for both players.

“Barry’s first goal of the season was a good one for us to get,” he said.

“Maurice Edu came in and I thought Barry and Maurice played extremely well in the midfield.

“Hamilton crowd that area of the field and make it difficult for teams in there but I thought both were excellent.”

Smiths says Edu has to be patient but assured him his time will come, adding: “I did say to him, as has happened with a number of the lads who come to play for the Old Firm, it takes a period of time to settle in.

“Him especially, because he was playing college football in America up until a year and a half ago and then one season in the MLS.

“He is still young in terms of his experience at professional level and it will take him a bit of time to come in. But I think he has the talent to be an exceptional midfield player.”

While Rangers headed into the clash top of the league on goal difference, Hamilton were the other form team in the SPL, with just one defeat in 2009.

Smith said: “It was always going to be a difficult challenge for us and I was delighted with the way the team went about the game.

“Hamilton have made it a very difficult place to come and get a result and that’s credit to them.

“I was a little disappointed that we weren’t tidier in our final pass, especially in the final half hour of the game where we might have given ourselves a level of comfort.

“We allowed chances to go past and it’s always a bit nervy towards the end of the game. But I thought we were excellent overall in terms of our defending.”

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Ronnie O’Brien to Portland?
February 27, 2009, 4:32 PM
Filed under: Former TFC Players, Portland Timbers, Ronnie O'Brien

From MLS-Rumors.net (though Ronnie is a right sided mid)…

During a talk with Portland radio last night, Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson mentioned that they would be announcing some player signings soon. One of which is certainly Steve Cronin formerly of the LA Galaxy and another is a left sided midfielder who played with the San Jose Earthquakes last season.

While we are still awaiting confirmation we’ve been told that it could very well be Ronnie O’Brien, as his Wikipedia page has him listed as a Portland Timber. Ronnie played with San Jose last season before being released. Watch this space for more to come in the days ahead.



Edu turned down loan move
February 22, 2009, 11:08 AM
Filed under: Former TFC Players, Maurice Edu, Toronto FC

Two appearances in half a season is enough to discourage any player looking to further his career both at the club and country levels. But not for Maurice Edu, who on Friday night revealed that he had turned down the idea of being loaned out from Rangers FC during the winter transfer window.

The former Toronto FC midfielder told the Daily Record that people within the Rangers organization had approached him about a possible solution to his lack of minutes; a loan move away from Ibrox Stadium.

Edu turned down that notion stating that he wants to earn his time on the field.

“A couple of people suggested me going on loan but I want to make my mark at Rangers,” said Edu.

“I’m just trying to make strides and hopefully my time will come.”

Edu’s positive outlook and his recovery from an ankle injury may just be what he needs in order to find playing time with Rangers. And playing time is what he needs not only to develop as a player but especially if he wants to compete for a spot on the U.S. national team.

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Melo & Reda show up in Vancouver
February 16, 2009, 12:07 AM
Filed under: Former TFC Players, Toronto FC

Vancouver’s Marcus Haber signed on with the Whitecaps today and there’ll be a story on him in tomorrow’s Big Paper. But he wasn’t the only Canadian content of note at Caps camp.

A pair of homegrown players with ties to Toronto FC were on hand at the Burnaby Sports Complex: defender Marco Reda and forward Joey Melo.

Reda (pictured) is the more well known of the pair, having played for TFC in 2007 and then spent last season in the USL-1 with Charleston. Actually, he was their captain, and they had his option year, so the fact he showed up this late into camp is a bit odd. Reda was too classy to comment on Wednesday but needless to say he found out late he wasn’t headed back there.

The Battery were 11-12-7 last season, good for fifth place. Reda, a native of Woodbridge, Ont., played 1730 minutes in 21 games, picking up one assist.

He was injured in Toronto and appeared only eight times in 2007, playing prior to that in top-flight leagues in Norway and Denmark.

The 31-year-old has been capped seven times for Canada, under Frank Yallop, but hasn’t been part of Dale Mitchell’s plans. His last appearance for Canada was against Martinique in Jan. 2008.

Mello is a Toronto native who signed a developmental contract there in 2007. Things went OK in his first season but he could sense a decline in interest last year and was released in December. He’s represented Canada at the U17, U18 and U20 levels though he hasn’t been part of the current U20 group.

Both will get a chance to play Friday as the Caps take on the Trinity Western Spartans in Burnaby (3 p.m.). Head coach Teitur Thordarson could take a decision on them as soon as this weekend.

Returnees Takashi Hirano, Lyle Martin and Charles Gbeke will be back in town by then but don’t expect them to play. Wesley Charles arrived this week too and was at training today.

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“More to come from me” – Andy Welsh
February 13, 2009, 1:18 PM
Filed under: Former TFC Players, Toronto FC

Yeovil Town winger Andy Welsh has said fans of the Glovers are yet to see him play to the best of his ability.

The 25-year-old moved to Huish Park from Blackpool in September and has made 11 starts for the League One side.

He told BBC Somerset: “I had a run in the side, then I got an injury at Huddersfield and haven’t had much of a look in since then.

“I’ve always said it will take lots of games for me to get involved so it’s up to me to do that.”

Monday’s 2-0 defeat at home to Leicester has left Yeovil just two points above the relegation zone in League One.

But despite having seen his side win just once in their last eight games, Welsh is confident the Glovers can turn their form around.

“If we keep matching teams like we did at Millwall and manage to score some goals then I’m confident we can move up the table,” he said.

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Excitement in 2009
February 5, 2009, 5:27 PM
Filed under: Dwayne DeRosario, Former TFC Players, MLS, Toronto FC

Sometimes it’s a single play that makes you want to see more from a player. Sometimes it’s a move from one team, one system, to another that makes you think a player might be on the verge of a big season.

This is what the offseason is for First XI: anticipation. Here’s a list of players we want can’t wait to see on the field come late March:

11. Marco Pappa, Chicago Fire. We caught only a few fleeting glimpses of Pappa last season, as he amassed only 217 regular-season minutes. It was, however, Pappa’s one playoff minute that has me thirsting to see more. Remember that vicious shot he unleashed in the waning moments of the Fire’s Eastern Conference Championship loss to the Crew? Perhaps I’m making too much out of too little, but as the 2009 season opens up, I’m anxious to see if Pappa’s got more of that.

10. Maykel Galindo, Chivas USA. All we got to see out of Galindo a year ago was a paltry 549 minutes as he was nursing injury after injury. In 2007, the Cuban striker looked to be well on his way to becoming one of the league’s more dangerous attackers. What’s more, his partnership with Ante Razov was looking like one of the league’s best fire-and-ice combos ever. Can Galindo return to his old form? Can he even take it up a notch? That’s what I want to see.

9. Cory Gibbs, Colorado Rapids. After a three-season hiatus from MLS, we got to see Gibbs for eight games a year ago. Upon first glimpse, he still looks to have his speed and his poise, but can he step up and be a leader for a Colorado team that missed the playoffs? Gibbs just turned 29, so he’s still in his prime. But it is nearing now-or-never time. Can he stay healthy?

8. Dave van den Bergh, FC Dallas. This is just a case of me wanting to see how a player who developed into such a key figure on one team — New York — can do when he steps onto the field for a new team. Especially when that team, FCD, needs for him to be at least the player and leader he had become in New York a season ago. Certainly, this was a bitter pill for Red Bulls fans to swallow, having watched VDB develop into such a key figure on their team. Dallas now hopes the transition is quick and smooth, because this is a player they need at his best.

7. Francis Doe, D.C. United. I’m remembering Doe’s two-goal performance against New England in October and wondering, is he a starter or super sub for D.C in ’09? In a way, it reminds me of the first go-round for Andy Herron in MLS, when he joined Chicago late and looked like he’d be a terror in MLS for many years … only to become just another well-traveled forward. D.C. United could use a breakout season from someone. Can it be the 24-year-old Liberian?

6. Julius James, Houston Dynamo. The defender from Trinidad goes from a sometime-starting, rookie player in Toronto to the “guy we traded Dwayne De Rosario for” in Houston. Yeah, that’s pressure. Sure, Houston also got allocation money along with James for DeRo, but MLS fans have never had an easy time getting used to the player for money thing. They’ll remember James.

5. Dominic Oduro, New York Red Bulls. Like James, Oduro is going to be feeling some heat from the New York fans as he’s the player the Red Bulls acquired for the popular van den Bergh. Oduro has speed to burn. That’s never been questioned. What is questioned, however, is how come Oduro has never started more than 10 games in an MLS season? Can he earn starter’s minutes on the field alongside Juan Pablo Angel, or will he continue only as a late-game spark?

4. Will Johnson, Real Salt Lake. There’s little doubt that Johnson added an element to RSL down the stretch, when he joined the team after finishing a stint in Holland. He scored the MLS Sierra Mist Goal of the Year, but that’s not what has me wanting to see more. It was the way Johnson seemed to bring a whole new element to RSL’s attack. I want to see if the 22-year old is for real.

3. Nate Jaqua, Seattle Sounders. Seems I say this every year, but I keep thinking that Jaqua is on the verge of a monster season in MLS. He had four goals in 14 games in Houston a year ago. I think he’s a 10-plus scorer in the right environment. Is Seattle that place? Will Sigi Schmid’s first-year collection provide him with enough service to hit double digits? This I want to know.

2. Eddie Gaven, Columbus Crew. How many times have you heard this question in the past year? “Can you believe Eddie Gaven is still only 22?” Well, yeah, he is. And even though (preposterous as it is) some media have called his MLS career “disappointing,” there’s quite a bit of miles left on Gaven’s tires. A Best XI choice at the age of 18. Now, a champion. I have a feeling people are soon going to be seeing Gaven emerge as one of the league’s elite players.

1. Dwayne De Rosario, Toronto FC. And if there’s pressure on Julius James in Houston, how about the expectations for native son DeRo in Toronto? Was last season — 7 goals — a sign that De Rosario is on the downside? Or will a move to Toronto FC re-ignite this all-time MLS great? Toronto is looking at this acquisition as the move that will make them a playoff team. How will he mix with what TFC have already assembled? Will it be magical? Can’t wait to see.

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Ruiz To Join Olimpia Of Paraguay
January 30, 2009, 8:22 AM
Filed under: Former TFC Players, Toronto FC

Guatemalan forward Carlos Ruiz has agreed to a contract with Olimpia of Paraguay for six months.

The striker was released at the close of 2008 by Toronto FC, his third MLS team.

The Most Valuable Player of 2002, Ruiz won the Major League Soccer championship the same year with the Los Angeles Galaxy. He scored a golden-goal in overtime of the final.

Ruiz was traded to FC Dallas in 2005, but returned to the Galaxy for the 2008 season.

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