Strikers have been put on notice

STEVEN SANDOR -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Mo Johnston is blunt; the media don't have to do a lot of reading between the lines when Toronto FC's boss assesses his team.

So, judging by his comments after Saturday's 0-0 draw pushed Toronto FC's scoreless streak to over 13 hours of game time, it is clear the strikers have been put on notice.

Johnston was quick to praise his team's effort level, but also singled out strikers Collin Samuel and Andrea Lombardo for their continued lack of finish.

Samuel was brought in from the Scottish League to bolster the attack; but he has just one goal in 12 games, and that came from the penalty spot. He had two glorious chances to win Saturday's game for TFC, but two open headers turned into timid attempts on goal.

"His finish hasn't been what we have been looking for," Johnston said of Samuel.

But Samuel's not the only striker in the doghouse. Andrea Lombardo still has yet to score in 12 MLS appearances. Johnston said Lombardo didn't do enough to get into scoring positions inside the box.

Johnston is already looking to next season, hoping to bring in six or seven players. But here was the warning to his current stable of strikers: "We know where we need to improve next year, and that's in front of goal."

So, the current strikers know that no job up front is safe.

Look, had it not been for injuries, the two regulars, Danny Dichio and Jeff Cunningham, would have been a capable combo. But Dichio is out and Cunningham's ills have kept him out or reduced him to the substitutes' bench. Cunningham and Dichio have produced eight goals in 26 combined TFC appearances; not spectacular numbers, but, compared to Samuel and Lombardo, they're like Luca Toni and Didier Drogba.

And, even though Toronto FC haven't scored since leather balls were used, it is creating lots of chances. I've lost count of the open nets missed.

I'm not the only one. Before Cunningham came into the game as a sub late in the second half, he marvelled at how TFC dominated the game.

"I was on the bench shaking my head thinking that this is a good team -- a very good team. And we don't have results to show for it.'

---

24 hours sports editor Steven Sandor has written about the Beautiful Game for numerous publications around the globe. The Red Card appears Wednesdays in 24 hours.


Videos

Photos