Get better or go home

Toronto FC manager Mo Johnston made his first cuts at a training camp in Miami yesterday. (Sun...

Toronto FC manager Mo Johnston made his first cuts at a training camp in Miami yesterday. (Sun Media File/Michael Peake)

DEAN McNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

SUNRISE, Fla. -- Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston laid it on the line for players at the first year Major League Soccer team's outdoor training centre yesterday in this suburb of Miami: Get better or go home.

And after a 2-1 loss to the Canadian under-20 squad, Johnston wasted no time showing he meant what he said.

Cut from the team yesterday were South African Junaid Hartley, Jamaican Garfield Reid and Colombian Hector Hurtado.

"All the guys that were on trial never showed a lot," Johnston said. "There was four or five of them. They just aren't good enough."

The coach, however, said that the result of the friendly against the Canadian kids shouldn't be seen as a barometer of where the team is in its second week of training in the Florida sunshine.

"This is not about results for me," Johnston said. "The point of this camp is getting guys in here and getting a look at them."

Hartley had come to Johnston's attention because of his dribbling ability and his reputation as a spectacular, but troubled playmaker.

He had made the rounds of premiership teams in South Africa before wearing out his welcome.

Johnston said it was clear that Hartley's skills had deteriorated significantly.

"We gave him a last shot (yesterday) just to see what he had and obviously he had nothing," Johnston said.

If there was anything yesterday that impressed the Toronto coach it was the play of the under-20s.

With goals from Edmonton's Tos Ricketts and Montreal's Christian Nunez the under-20s kept constant pressure on the Toronto professionals.

"I was impressed with the under-20s," Johnston said. "We are looking to sign some of them as well."

The lone Toronto goal came off the foot of Chris Pozniak, one of the Canadian bright lights on the team.

Johnston has said from the very start of camp that he wants the Canadian kids to succeed because he feels it is important to have that local flavour on the club.

"There are some Canadians abroad who we would like to have," he said. "But circumstances being what they are, those players are not readily available."

Two other Canadians who have drawn good reviews from the coach are Richard Asante, of North York, and London, Ontario's Tyler Hemming.

Hemming did not play yesterday, however, as he is nursing a strained hamstring.

And Toronto's No. 1 MLS draft pick Maurice Edu said yesterday he'll be out another four to five weeks recovering from a fractured pelvis.


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