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TFC vs Charleston Battery
March 7, 2009, 10:51 AM
Filed under: Carolina Challenge Cup, Charleston Battery, MLS Preseason, Toronto FC

Saturday, March 7th – Kickoff at 7:15 p.m.
Toronto FC at Charleston Battery in the Carolina Challenge Cup.


*Note: Audio might be streamed from Toronto FC TV. Check for updates.

Carolina Cup starts Saturday
Toronto FC trained at BMO Field on Friday morning before leaving for South Carolina where they will compete for the third consecutive season in the Carolina Challenge Cup at Blackbaud Stadium, Dainel Island. The tournament gets underway on Saturday with the Reds taking on hosts Charleston Battery of the United Soccer League at 7:15 p.m. The game follows the opening match of the tournament between D.C. United and real Salt Lake (kick off 5:00 p.m.).
TFC have had a successful preseason so far and won 3-0 against Florida Atlantic University before beating Swedish Premier Division side Hacken 3-0 on the most recent trip to Florida. “The team is coming along very nicely and we are looking really strong,” said Toronto FC winger Rohan Ricketts. “I’m excited because I have never been to Charleston and I just want to go there and win the tournament.”

Defender Marvell Wynne believes the team is in good shape heading into the tournament. “We have a pretty good idea what our team is going to look like at the start of the season and that is a big difference compared to previous years. With the additions that have been made and the guys returning from previous seasons, we are all feeling very comfortable. We have a lot of confidence and high expectations,” he said.

Charleston enter the tournament with just a week of preseason training in the books. Fifth-year coach Michael Anhaeuser has retained the core of the lineup that overcame two MLS sides to earn a spot in the 2008 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup finals including Dusty Hudock in goal, Nelson Akwari and John Wilson in defence, Ian Fuller and Stephen Armstrong in the midfield, and Randi Patterson up front.

Previous meetings

Toronto won their first ever clash with Charleston Battery in the 2007 tournament as the Reds prepared for their first season in Major League Soccer. It finished 3-0 with goals from Alecko Eskandarian, Edson Buddle and Abbe Ibrahim. In the 2008 Carolina Cup, Toronto were beaten 2-0 by the Battery with both goals scored by Randi Patterson. 

TFC Schedule (all times local)

• Saturday March 7: Toronto FC vs. Charleston Battery, 7:15 p.m. • Wednesday March 11: Toronto FC vs. D.C. United, 5:00 p.m. • Saturday March 14: Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 5:00 p.m.

  • Marvell Wynne on Toronto FC TV
  • Rohan Ricketts on Toronto FC TV

    Source: Click Here

    TFC open against Charleston on Saturday
    March 5, 2009, 12:46 PM
    Filed under: Carolina Challenge Cup, MLS Preseason, Toronto FC
    Toronto FC coach John Carver believes his side is well prepared heading into the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston this weekend. The Reds first game in the tournament is on Saturday against hosts Charleston Battery of the United Soccer League (kick off 7:15 p.m.). They will then go up against MLS opposition with matches scheduled against D.C. United and Real Salt Lake.”I’m now ready to start looking at the team that will play in the first game of the season,” Carver told “We have done a lot of preparation gearing towards the first game at Charleston on Saturday because I want to go down there and give it a good go. I am looking for some good performances when we get down there. Everything is geared towards making sure the guys are ready for that first game against Kansas City.”

    It is Toronto’s third year taking part in the Carolina Cup at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island, and Carver believes his team is much stronger than 12 months ago when they finished with a record of 0-2-1 in the tournament. “There is a lot more stability within the team and we are going down there with a settled squad,” he explained. “This time last year it was very hard work because the team wasn’t set and I wasn’t sure which players would be available.”

    “We’ve got D.C. United on Wednesday and Real Salt Lake on the following Saturday so those games will be two great tests for us. There will be a lot of guys on the pitch for 90 minutes which is important. Everybody has had the best opportunity to prepare themselves and I have had a good look at the players. They are all in good condition, so hopefully we can come away with the right result.”

    Tournament Schedule (all times local)
    • Saturday March 7: Toronto FC vs. Charleston Battery, 7:15 p.m.
    • Wednesday March 11: Toronto FC vs. D.C. United, 5:00 p.m.
    • Saturday March 14: Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 5:00 p.m.

    Toronto FC TV: John Carver Discusses CC Cup

    Source: Click Here

    Brennan sees higher standard
    March 3, 2009, 11:09 AM
    Filed under: Jim Brennan, MLS Preseason, Toronto FC
    Toronto FC captain Jim Brennan believes added depth in the squad will be a key factor in the Reds’ ability to make the playoffs this season. Brennan has been impressed with the quality of the team in preseason so far. “There is a buzz around the camp and the standard has obviously gone up,” he said. “We’ve lacked depth over the last couple of seasons, but now we have it and that will make a big difference this year.”The latest addition to the team was Brennan’s former Canadian international teammate Adrian Serioux who was signed from FC Dallas last week to bolster the team’s defence. “I’ve known Adrian for a very long time and I think it is great for the club and for Canada,” said Brennan.

    “Slowly but surely we are starting to get a few more Canadian guys into the club which is great for the fans and the club. It’s also good for the youngsters around here that want to play for Toronto one day. With Adrian coming he adds a lot of strength at the back he’s got the experience and I think he will be a great asset for us. Defensively we are getting a few more players in. I think all over the park you need to have depth, especially in this league when players are going to be away on international duty, you need guys to be able to come in and do a job,” explained Brennan.

    After a month of preseason, Brennan is delighted with the way preparation for the new campaign is progressing. “It has been great so far,” he said. “There is a buzz around the camp and the standard has obviously gone up. The training has been first class and the guys are working hard. There is a belief going around right now. All of the guys who have come in have settled in right from day one. Everyone can’t wait for the first game of the season.”

    Jim Brennan interview on Toronto FC TV 

    Source: Click Here

    Carver satisfied with progress
    March 3, 2009, 8:27 AM
    Filed under: John Carver, MLS Preseason, Toronto FC

    Toronto FC coach John Carver is satisfied with the way the team is shaping up as preparations for the new season continue. The team trained at BMO Field on Monday after returning from Sunrise, Florida on Friday. “Compared to this time last year we are miles ahead, but there is still a long way to go. We’ve got three weeks before the first game of the season and things are coming together quite nicely,” said Carver.

    The Reds will train in Oakville on Tuesday and return to BMO Field on Wednesday before leaving for the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston on Friday. “We were back to working three against three today and we will play full sided games tomorrow,” said Carver. “We will be working the guys hard early in the week and then easing off towards the weekend because we travel on Friday and play a game in Charleston on Saturday.”

    Four players missed the workout on Monday to attend to personal matters. Amado Guevara, Carl Robinson, Adrian Serioux and Pablo Vitti will all return to training on Tuesday. “I decided to let them have today off because it is the only time they will get chance to go home,” said Carver. “Pablo and Adrian have both gone home to pick up some of their things. I allowed Carl Robinson to go home to celebrate his baby’s first birthday and Amado has gone to see his new baby as well.”

    Carver is taking the team to Oakville Soccer Club on Tuesday to help build ties with the community. “I think it is very important to have links with the community and they are happy for us to be going there, so it helps everybody. I was invited there to look around the facilities with Paul Winsper and they’ve got an incredible place there. Again it is a different environment for the players to train on a different type of field turf.”

    Toronto played two games during the week away in Sunrise beating Florida Atlantic University 3-0 and winning by the same score against Swedish Premier Division team BK Hacken. “The trip was good for us because it gave us the chance to work on good surfaces in a good environment and the players worked really hard,” explained Carver. “Playing against FAU gave me a chance to look at some of the guys we had on trial and it also gave players the chance to work on their fitness and get 90 minutes under their belt. The second game against Hacken was a tougher game because they are close to starting their season now. I saw them play Dallas and it was a 1-1 draw but they could have won that game. There was a spell in our game where we absolutely tore them apart for about 25 minutes which was great to see.”

    Source: Click Here

    Ives: Previewing TFC 2009
    March 2, 2009, 12:00 PM
    Filed under: MLS Preseason, Toronto FC

    For those of you who missed it over the weekend, here is Ives preview of Toronto FC.

    No team in MLS has done more to revamp their squad than TFC, which has added all-star midfielder Dwayne DeRosario, Argentine striker Pablo Vitti, top rookie midfielder Sam Cronin and defender Adrian Serioux. With a few more signings expected soon, including a central defender projected to step in and start, Toronto FC is the leader in the “MLS team most likely to make the playoffs after missing them in 2008” race.

    Where do I see Toronto finishing? A battle with Kansas City for third place in the Eastern Conference sounds about right, while a Columbus Crew-like surge from worst in the East to best in MLS shouldn’t be completely ruled out.

    It should be noted that 2008 Toronto FC and the 2007 Columbus Crew share one big thing in common, a rash of last-minute losses and ties. Columbus matured after 2007, learning from those disappointing experiences to put together a dream season. Toronto, with hometown hero DeRosario now in the fold, could very well do the same thing.

    Source: Click Here

    Reds wrap up Florida camp
    February 27, 2009, 12:55 PM
    Filed under: Carolina Challenge Cup, MLS Preseason, Toronto FC
    Toronto FC’s players will return to BMO Field to continue preseason training on Monday. The Reds headed back north on Friday after wrapping up their eight day training camp in Sunrise, Florida. They will train in Toronto until March 6th when they leave for the Carolina Challenge Cup.Toronto won both games played during their week in Sunrise. First the Reds beat Florida Atlantic University 3-0 on Saturday with two goals from Danny Dichio and a strike from Sam Cronin. They then beat Swedish Premier Division side BK Hacken 3-0 on Monday. Carl Robinson, Pablo Vitti and Dwayne De Rosario scored the goals in the second half.

    Toronto’s next preseason game is in Charleston, South Carolina when the team appears in the Carolina Challenge Cup. The 2009 edition of the tournament will once again take place at Blackbaud Stadium, on Daniel Island, SC (March 7-14), and will also feature D.C. United, Real Salt Lake and USL First Division hosts Charleston Battery. Toronto will arrive in Charleston on March 6th and train in between matches before returning back home March 15th.

    The competition format will remain unchanged in 2009 with three match days each featuring a double-header, in a round robin format. Last year Toronto FC finished with a record of 0-2-1 in the tournament, as the San Jose Earthquakes took the title.

     Tournament Schedule (all times local)

    • Saturday March 7: Toronto FC vs. Charleston Battery, 7:15 p.m.
    • Wednesday March 11: Toronto FC vs. D.C. United, 5:00 p.m.
    • Saturday March 14: Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 5:00 p.m.

    Source: Click Here

    Big steps being made at TFC Camp
    February 25, 2009, 2:33 PM
    Filed under: MLS Preseason, Toronto FC

    It was this time last year that people began airing their concerns that Toronto FC were not being quite as active in the transfer market as they had suggested they’d be.  The fear was, that the team that was to start the second season in franchise history, might look ominously like the one that struggled in year one.  That proved to be the case, although eventually new faces did trickle in, and by seasons end, the team had changed it’s look somewhat, although it was clear, a face lift was still required.

    Fast forward to this years camp, and the differences, on an off the field are already obvious.  Coach John Carver has made an impression.  Last year, arriving in January, he had to accomodate the teams pre-season plans, rather than the club accomodate his plans,  the Geordie is much happier, doing things his way.  It is no coincidence that the morale of the camp is high, in large part to the club spending more time in Toronto, allowing those new faces, not to mention those who spent the winter out of town to re-acquaint themselves with the city. 

    Of course it is on the field that matters, and Carver has been able to use his network, along with Mo Johnston’s, to bring in a select group of trialists, who Carver says are of a far higher quality than last year.  That is not to say they will all be signed, few likely will, but improving the overall quality in pre-season, results in a more competitive camp, and a more demanding camp. 

    Carver is highly impressed with the draftees, who also add pressure to the stalwarts.  Sam Cronin, Carver says, is an excellent player, who he feels would be able to play in any position, such is his work ethic, and willingness to learn, but will likely settle in midfield, and as cover at right back.  O’Brian White is making steady progress from his serious knee injury, and goalkeeper Stefan Frei is winning plaudits for his presence in the box.

    One big difference this year, is that management are making no promises of new arrivals, big names, small names, depth players, starters.  There are more pieces on the way make no mistake, but Carver is not tipping his hand, although he does say they ‘haven’t finished yet.’  That being said, the club made a relatively big splash this week with the acquistion of Adrian Serioux.  Carver is impressed with what he has seen, and says that although the Canadian has spent time in midfield, even at full-back, he will be used as a center half at TFC.  No surprise there, but will he be partnered with Marco Velez?  As mentioned, Carver is giving nothing away, but looking at this squad, even with the addition of Serioux, there is little depth at the back, expect that to be addressed again in the coming weeks.  Carver speaks highly of young CB Nana Attakora-Gyan, but he has been limited to only five sessions through injury, and has been called up to the Canada U-20’s for the Concacaf champs. Carver doesn’t say so, but that has to frustrate a coach!

    As for the big winter signing?  Dwayne De Rosario has come as advertised.  Carver is excited with what he is bringing to the team, both technically, and with his attitude.  He says De-Ro will be used in a free-role, but is either witholding, or is yet to determine exactly where; I think we can all speculate though, although he says it will not be as an out and out winger.

    The start of the season is fast approaching, the team returns from Florida shortly, to spend a week back in Toronto, before heading to the Charleston Tournament, so there are still other shoes to drop before kickoff, but even today, the look of this team is far superior to a year ago. 

    Source: Click Here

    Rough Workout for TFC
    February 24, 2009, 10:56 PM
    Filed under: MLS Preseason, Toronto FC

    Late in the morning after Toronto FC’s exhibition win against the Swedish club BK Hacken, the half of the Reds’ roster that got the previous day off probably wished it hadn’t.

    TFC coach John Carver splits up his team during the preseason, and those who work one day rehab the next.

    The 16 players who practiced at the Sunrise Holiday Inn on Tuesday morning will certainly feel it Wednesday.

    During a rugged 90-minute session, Carver put the group through the ultimate conditioning workout: eight minutes of nonstop seven-on-seven scrimmaging, where nearly anything — including goals, kicks out of bounds, salty language and even body-slams — failed to stop the action.

    After eight arduous repetitions, Carver mercifully called it off. He had seen enough.

    ”If you’re not in shape, you get found out,” Carver said of the drill. “You can’t hide.”

    In their third Major League Soccer season, the Reds are about to learn a lot about themselves. They improved by 10 points in the standings from their first year to their second, but still finished last in the East.

    That won’t be nearly enough in 2009 — especially owning three of the top 13 picks in January’s SuperDraft.

    In what Carver calls the best draft he’s ever seen, TFC selected Wake Forest’s Sam Cronin with the second pick overall, O’Brian White of Jamaica at No. 4 and Cal goalie Stefan Frei with the 13th selection.

    While none are expected to bust out immediately, the Reds clearly know their future success is closely tied with how these three young men pan out.

    ”I think everyone’s excited,” said Cronin, the 2008 Hermann Trophy finalist. “We’ve got a lot of good young players here.”

    Cronin played in TFC’s win over Hacken, so the midfielder didn’t have to suffer through the seven-on-seven sweat-fest.

    White missed practice for a completely different reason. The UConn forward ruptured his ACL against Marquette in October and is not expected to return to the pitch before June.

    That’s just fine with the Reds’ coaching staff, which would rather have White at full speed than rush him back.

    ”I just try to stay positive,” said White, the Big East’s offensive player of the year in 2007. “If you dwell on it, that will just get you down. I still have a way to go.”

    As for Frei, he is technically not even assured of a roster spot, although teams rarely part ways with high draft picks. TFC has two other goalies — Greg Sutton and Brian Edwards — and would be hard-pressed to keep three on its 24-man roster.

    ”He’s putting pressure on the other two,” Carver said. “He’s not like a rookie coming in.”

    Source: Click Here

    Training Notes
    February 24, 2009, 10:48 PM
    Filed under: MLS Preseason, Toronto FC

    With that caveat out of the way (ahem) sources in TFC camp have been feeding me some tidbits that may be of interest to the faithful. Nothing earth shattering, but something to chew on during this too-damn-cold-is-winter-bloody-over-yet day.

    • Yesterday’s addition of domestic defender Andrian Serioux (which is now official, by the way) was not the central defender that Mo Johnston has been targeting. Evidently the phone lines are still burning on that front (Du’etime and all that). But, everyone close to the situation says the same thing–it will happen. There will be another defender with the team when it breaks camp (The 24th Minute bullcrap meter says — highly likely!)
    • Stepfan Frei has all but won the back-up role and is pushing Greg Sutton to the max for the starting keeper position. Brian Edwards will likely be shipped off to another MLS team looking for a back-up (don’t expect more than a late draft pick TFC fans). Frei has literally been the talk of the camp. (The 24th Minute bullcrap metre says — likely).
    • Not so much a rumour, but an observation. Sam Cronin is turning heads and he may force his way into the starting line-up. It will be difficult — really he’s competing with Carl Robinson and it doesn’t seem likely that he will bump the veteran — but the rookie will see the pitch in 2009. (The 24th Minute bullcrap metre says — highly likely he’s turning heads; not likely he’s going to start)
    • Marco Velez is keeping his suitcase packed. This one I’m taking with a grain of salt for now because it seems as much TFC fan fantasy as it does legitimate rumour. However, Velez did seem to fall out of favour near the end of last season and if Nana Attakora continues to develop he could be excess baggage. Two sources told me that it’s a matter of when, not if, that Velez will be waved. Seattle has been suggested as a possible landing pad for him. (The 24th Minute bullcrap metre says — not enough information, but possible.)

    Source: Click Here