Dichio, Sutton start the season riding the pines

Greg Sutton makes a save during Toronto FC Practice at BMO Field March 27th, 2008. Dave Thursday,...

Greg Sutton makes a save during Toronto FC Practice at BMO Field March 27th, 2008. Dave Thursday, March 27, 2008 4:09:56 PM

DEAN MCNULTY

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- At the 23rd minute of yesterday's Toronto FC season opener against the Columbus Crew, Reds supporters began to serenade Danny Dichio, he of scoring fame from last season when he notched both the side's first (in the 23rd minute) and last goals.

Only this time their beloved Dichio was not on the pitch to acknowledge their praise.

New TFC coach John Carver had the 6-foot-4 menacing striker tied to the bench after he had judged the former English premiership player too slow for his attacking offence.

"I told the team that everybody would have to earn their way into a starting job," Carver said. "I am going to start the players I think deserve to start."

But Carver denied there was any hidden message in his handling of Dichio, who was inserted into the game in the 65th minute.

"Danny has got an important part to play on this club," Carver said in his post game press conference.

Also on the bench yesterday was last season's starting goalkeeper Greg Sutton, who was expected to retain his spot on the team after missing much of last season with a concussion.

He was replaced by rookie Brian Edwards, a first-round pick out of Wake Forest in the 2008 MLS super draft.

Carver said that again it was his opinion that in the pre-season that Edwards had outplayed the veteran Canadian international.

"Don't get me wrong," Carver said.

"I thought Greg was starting to come round. He'll have a place on this team. Not starting him (yesterday) was the hardest thing I've had to do since I got here."

The coach did heap praise on Jim Brennan, another veteran Canadian, who was the best player on the pitch for much of the game.

"Jimmy brings so much to the game," Carver said. "He played his heart out (yesterday). It's just too bad we couldn't get a win."

Dichio, meanwhile, went to the trainer's room after the game without commenting on his demotion from a starting role.


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