Players not pulling weight

DEAN McNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 5:22 PM ET

VAUGHAN -- Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston blasted the team's preparedness for the coming Major League Soccer season yesterday as it worked through its fourth day of indoor practice at the Ontario Soccer Centre.

In fact Johnston went as far as to say that right now many of those in training camp didn't look good enough to play at the professional level.

"We are a long way away," he said. "We're not even close."

But in the same breath Johnston announced that he has his sights on a player with European premier division experience that he hopes will join the first year MLS side soon.

"We are close to signing an international striker in the next few days," he said. "We are just waiting to get league approval.

"He is a big time player."

Asked point blank if anyone of the 25 players who were practising yesterday had impressed him, Johnston said: "No."

"We knew coming in what certain guys could do," he said. "(But) there are guys here who aren't even half way close to making the squad."

Johnston refused to name the players he thought had come to camp out of shape,

but he did excuse several of the youngsters as just lacking experience.

"They are getting experience here, that's a positive," Johnston said. "We will probably sign some to our developmental roster."

He said that he thought several players were caught off guard as to the level of play it would take to make the team.

"They need to find out what it takes to be a professional and some of them just can't cope with the quickness," Johnston said. "Are they at a level that will help us compete? Some of them are not."

He said the answer to some of the woes he saw on the pitch yesterday was simply hard work.

"They have to work a bit harder. Some guys are out of shape," Johnston said. "When you look at what we are doing here, this is nothing compared to what we are going to be doing."

It wasn't all doom and gloom in the coach's eyes, however, as he praised the play of Edson Buddle and third round draft pick Richard Asante.

"So there are still a lot of positives," Johnston said. "Even if they don't make the squad they will have had a chance to see how things are run at this level."

INJURY REPORT

The team suffered its first injury yesterday when forward Jose Cancela pulled an Achilles tendon ... No. 1 draft pick Maurice Edu will undergo an MRI today to check the healing of a pelvic fracture. Johnston said the team is in no hurry to rush the youngster into the lineup.


Videos

Photos