Toronto FC manager Mo Johnston now knows how Shakespeare's King Richard III felt when he cried out "a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse" to go into battle with.
Only Johnston is looking for a horse of a different sort -- one that can score a goal for the Major League Soccer side.
The team will go into its ninth consecutive league game Saturday without a goal when it takes on the Columbus Crew at BMO Field.
TFC players spent yesterday taking shots into four nets around the practice pitch.
"I'd be more concerned if we weren't creating chances," Johnston said. "But we had 24 shots on goal (against Real Salt Lake in a 0-0 draw) in the last game, so I'm more frustrated for our guys."
A big part of the problem is that the club has looked more like a MASH unit than a soccer side with as many as five starters out at one time this season.
Johnston got some more bad news yesterday. Both Marvell Wynne and Chris Pozniak, who suffered injuries against Salt Lake, won't be able to play Saturday.
Even God, it seems, is throwing a wrench into Johnston's plans.
"Adam Braz won't be playing because he'll be at home in Montreal observing the Jewish high holiday (Yom Kippur) with his family," Johnston said.
He will have striker Jeff Cunningham back for the whole game, however.
ADDING SOME SPARK
"Jeff will start," Johnston said. "I hope he can provide the spark we need to score."
The last TFC player to score a goal in a regular season game -- first-round pick Maurice Edu -- is as frustrated as anyone about the prolonged goal drought.
"To be honest with you I am getting sick of talking about it," the 21-year-old midfielder said. "I don't remember any stretch as long as this for me not scoring a goal either."
Johnston vows that he'll spend much of the off-season beating the bushes for players to add to his core group.
"We need guys coming off the bench who can finish," he said. "And we'll be addressing that before next season."
Johnston, who had announced plans for a scouting trip to South America, said yesterday that he and several other Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. executives will also travel to Holland and England in the hopes of finding talent for the team.