TFC loses players to nats

DEAN MCNULTY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:13 AM ET

Toronto FC will finish its final two weeks of pre-season training short-handed after four of its young stars were picked to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympic qualifying tournament -- two each for Canadian and the U.S. under-23 squads.

The Canadian team announced yesterday that TFC forward Andrea Lombardo of Toronto and midfielder Tyler Hemming of London, Ont., will be on the pitch when tournament action begins today in Carson, Calif.

Earlier this week the Americans named TFC midfielder Maurice Edu and defender Marvell Wynne to its under-23 team.

Canada opens against Mexico today in a Group B game.

"We've had a very good 11 days of preparation to date," head coach Nick Dasovic said yesterday.

The top two finishers in the CONCACAF men's Olympic qualification tourney earn berths in the Beijing Games.

The 10-day tournament will pit Canada against Mexico, Guatemala and Haiti in Group B.

In the Group A play yesterday, the U.S. tied Cuba 1-1, while Honduras beat Panama1-0.

The semi-finals are slated for Nashville on March 20 and the final on March 23.

While TFC manager Mo Johnston is on record as supporting the four players and the opportunity to play for their respective countries, it leaves new coach John Carver in the position of having to select a starting 11 for the team's Major League Soccer season opener March 29 in Columbus, Ohio, without a complete dossier on all of the players available to him.

With seven new players on the roster and 11 players from 2007 either traded or waived, Carver and Johnston face some hard choices as the team competes in its final pre-season tuneup at Charleston, S.C., this weekend.

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TFC'S COMINGS AND GOINGS

RETURNING STARTERS

Goalies: Greg Sutton

Defenders: Tyrone Marshall, Andrew Boyens, Jim Brennan

Midfielders/defenders: Marvell Wynne

Midfielders: Maurice Edu, Carl Robinson

Forwards: Collin Samuel, Danny Dichio, Jeff Cunningham

NEW FACES

Julius James (D/F): First-round draft pick

Pat Phelan (D/F): First-round draft pick

Brian Edwards (G):Second-round draft pick

Mike Zaher (D): Third-round draft pick

Xavier Balc (F): First-round supplemental draft pick

Kevin Harmse (M): Acquired from Los Angeles Galaxy

Tyler Rosenlund (M): Signed as a free agent (pending league approval)

DEPARTED

Chris Pozniak (M/F): Picked up by San Jose Earthquakes in expansion draft.

Adam Braz (D/F): Waived

Miguel Canizalez (M): Waived

Srdjan Djekanovi (GK):Waived

Jeffrey Gonsalves (M):Waived

David Guzman (M): Waived

Stephen Lumley (D/F): Waived

Christian Nunez (M): Waived

Marco Reda (D/F): Waived

Kenny Stamatopoulos (GK): Returned to Tromso, Norway

Ronnie O'Brien (M): Traded to San Jose Earthquakes


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