New-found depth

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:26 AM ET

Toronto FC coach John Carver is facing a problem he didn't have in the team's first two losses of the season and one that Mo Johnston didn't have even once last year.

Carver has to come to terms with the fact he may have too many quality players in the midfield.

With the signing yesterday of Rohan Ricketts, on top of the recent additions of Honduran international Amado Guevara and former French international Laurent Robert attacking from the left and right side of the midfield, respectively, and with veteran Carl Robinson and last season's Major League Soccer rookie-of-the-year Maurice Edu patrolling the middle, something has to give.

And it likely will take the form of one fewer striker among the starting 11 and a change in the backfield when the club takes on David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy tomorrow in Tinseltown after successive losses to Columbus Crew (2-0) and D.C. United (4-1) to open the 2008 MLS calendar.

Not that Carver -- already notorious for holding his starting lineup close to his vest -- was ready to divulge his plans prior to the team flying to Los Angeles yesterday.

"We'll just have to deal with it, now won't we," he said.

Making matters more complicated is the fact Guevara will meet his new teammates for the first time on the pitch today when they hold their final practice before tomorrow's 3 p.m. start.

But one thing that has Carver feeling positive is the team's attitude.

"You would never know that this team had lost two in a row the way we practised this week," he said. "We had some backfield breakdowns against D.C. that we have hopefully fixed so we go into (tomorrow's) game on a positive note."

One of the fixes could be that defenders Tyrone Marshall and Marco Velez, who accounted for the majority of miscues in the D.C. match, will be replaced by sophomore Andrew Boyens and first-round draft pick Julius James.

James, who suffered a separated shoulder in pre-season play, took part in an arduous two-plus hour training session on Thursday and looked ready to go.

With defenders Jim Brennan and Marvell Wynne already pencilled in, it's a likely scenario that Carver will go with a 4-4-2 unit with Danny Dichio and Jeff Cunningham in the forward positions.

Ricketts, 25, practised with the club this week and was signed after the Englishman was freed from his contract with Barnsley. He has played for several other English clubs, including Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Wolverhampton. Also yesterday, TFC waived forward Collin Samuel because of a personal matter.

As for facing Beckham, it will hardly be a new experience for Carver whose coaching resume goes back almost a decade in the English premiership where he saw the star midfielder up close dozens of times.

"Oh, yes, I know David pretty well," the coach said. "There are not too many things he'll show us that I haven't seen many times before."


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