FC coach still tinkering

Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston says that there is no time to sit still with their opener just weeks...

Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston says that there is no time to sit still with their opener just weeks away. (Sun File/Michael Peake)

DEAN McNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston said yesterday that he isn't finished tinkering with the expansion Major League Soccer club, even though there are just three weeks until its opening game April 8 in California.

In an interview from Charleston, S.C., where the team is in its final phase of pre-season training, Johnston said that in spite of an elongated spring schedule that began almost two months ago in Toronto, he still isn't satisfied he has all the ingredients needed to compete with the top MLS teams.

Johnston gave up a first-round draft pick in 2008 to acquire 30-year-old midfielder Richard Mulrooney from FC Dallas earlier this week and that's on top of trades and allocation picks that have brought internationals Jon Busch, Conor Casey, Abbe Ibrahim and Carl Robinson to the team during training, all of whom will start the season with Toronto.

"There's still movement to be done," Johnston said. "I am looking at every possible situation, whether it be to get another international, or get someone from within the MLS via trade."

The coach of the first-year side said that there is no time to sit still.

"I will do whatever it takes to make this team better," Johnston said.

The coach will get a much better idea of where his club is in terms of MLS competition when it faces defending league champions Houston Dynamo Saturday in a friendly at a mini-tournament in Charleston.

But he says he is not going to place a great deal of stock in the outcome of that contest.

"It's just a friendly, after all," Johnston said. "It's still pre-season and when you are thinking pre-season the end result doesn't matter; you are thinking about your squad."

He said that when there are no points at stake, it makes it easier to look at the game more objectively.

"Just because they are an MLS team, it doesn't matter, we are not playing for anything," he said. "I don't care what any of the results are in pre-season."

Johnston said he would not be using the games over the next week against top opponents to gauge the status of his team.

"I know what we have," he said. "And we are going to be okay."

Johnston did say, however, that he is still dealing with some lingering injury problems -- most notably with No. 1 overall draft pick Maurice Edu -- who is still out with a cracked pelvis.

As for Mulrooney, Johnston thinks he got a good deal in spite of having to give up a valuable first-rounder in next season's MLS Superdraft.

"It was a good price to pay," he said. "(Mulrooney) is a very good competitor, I've always liked the way he plays."


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