Carver, 'keeper back on side

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

Toronto FC coach John Carver still is hot under the collar about losing key players to international competition. But the good news is, he no longer wants to ring his backup goalkeeper's neck.

Carver continued his rant yesterday about losing important players to international games that don't mean anything, i.e. friendlies.

The first year Toronto FC coach has no problems with players leaving for important international assignments, such as World Cup qualifying games or the Olympics. But he believes it's unfair to lose top performers, such as Canadians Greg Sutton and Jim Brennan, for games that don't mean a lot.

Heading into tomorrow's game at BMO Field against the Colorado Rapids, Toronto FC will be without Sutton and Brennan again, as Team Canada opens up World Cup qualifying against St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sunday in the Caribbean nation's capital, Kingstown. Toronto FC, which sits fourth in the MLS East with a record of 5-4-2, also will be without three other starters because of World Cup qualifying; Maurice Edu, U.S., Tyrone Marshall, Jamaica and Amado Guevara, Honduras.

Carter's starting lineup isn't itched in stone, but Sutton's departure means another start for backup goalkeeper Brian Edwards, who last week felt the stinging wrath of his coach.

Basically, after Edwards played well in Toronto's 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 31, Carver carved his rookie 'keeper for his lacksadasical attitude in practice.

He then started Sutton against the Houston Dynamo last weekend, despite a policy of keeping the players who win, in the lineup.

Still, all seemed to be well between the two yesterday, which is important, as Carver needs a big performance out of Edwards tomorrow against the 5-6 Rapids.

Carver described Edwards' attitude and performance this week as "fantastic."

"I told him my feelings," Carver said, of calling out his goalkeeper. "So what I said to (the media) wasn't anything I hadn't already said to him. What I wouldn't do, I wouldn't come in and talk to you guys before I spoke to him, and it's important he knew that.

"And since then I've had the response I wanted," the coach continued.

"Sometimes you have to say things in public to get a reaction from players. It's not just about going out blabbing my mouth off to the press. It wasn't about that. I've got the right reaction because he has heard it and read it in the newspaper."

For his part, Edwards, Toronto FC's second-round pick in the 2008 MLS draft, said it's water under the bridge, adding that he always works hard in practice.

"I wasn't there when he said it, it is what it is," the former Wake Forest star said.

"I always try hard (but) we had a bit of a misunderstanding last week and it's all resolved now. What happened last week isn't an indication of what kind of player I am. I'm always learning, trying to do my best and that's what I'm looking forward to doing (tomorrow)."

Carver admitted that he can be hard on players whom he believes have the skill to take themselves to the highest echelons of soccer, adding that Edwards is one of those players.

"If he puts his mind to it, he can achieve anything he wants," Carver said.

"He has got all the ingredients -- if he can sort his head out. And this week, he sorted his head out. He has got presence, he has got fantastic distribution, both with his kicking and his throwing. He has got a loud voice where he can demand and command his box. He's good at dealing with crosses, he's a good shot stopper -- and he has been in the game only five minutes, he's a rookie."


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