Carver keeps coop cryptic

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

Fans of the Where's Waldo? game might engage in more Where's Carvo? tomorrow at BMO Field when Toronto FC plays the Kansas City Wizards.

Will the suddenly reclusive Toronto FC coach direct the squad from the press box again? Or perhaps he will try the stadium's beer garden for an end-zone view or even sit among the crowd, behind a red scarf while singing the praises of Danny Dichio?

Carver's decision to watch his team's 1-0 win over Chivas from up top on Wednesday did the trick. Carver's team broke a four-game winless streak, he avoided any beef with officials and the new 4-3-3 formation looked good, as he relayed info to assistant Chris Cummins on the pitch.

"Obviously, there was something going on between him and the refs and he thought that would be better," striker Chad Barrett said. "He thought he should get his face away and see what he could do. He also wanted to get a look at the new format from on top. You can't always see at eye level and that was something tactical he wanted to do for himself. Chris did a great job on the sidelines."

CUMMINS MEETS MEDIA

The chance of another no-show tomorrow was raised yesterday when Cummins came out of the coaches' office to meet the media instead of Carver, as he did after the Chivas game.

"I'm not sure yet," Cummins said of the boss' where-abouts, keeping a straight face. "We had a good talk about the team this week and what we're looking to do."

Manager Mo Johnston wouldn't speak on any topic unless he knew the nature of the questions beforehand, so the players, fans and the Wizards will have to wait until 5 p.m. tomorrow to see if they get Carver and the 4-3-3.

K.C. moved into first place in the Eastern Conference of MLS on Thursday with a 1-0 win over New York. With the right combination of results this weekend, Toronto could have a piece of first place by tomorrow night if it gets three points.

TFC's projected starters stayed in the gym yesterday, as the club tried to stay fresh for its third game in a week, but it appears no personnel changes are afoot.

With Dwayne De Rosario out, Carver went with Marco Velez on the back line and Pablo Vitti in the midfield. Cummins said there was no reason to think the 34-year-old Dichio wasn't up to back-to-back starts on short notice. The aging Dichio usually subs for Barrett, but both were prominent in the attack Wednesday. Dichio headed the ball to Amado Guevara for the winning goal.

"Danny was champing at the bit to come in and he did a tremendous job," Barrett said. "Me and Pablo Vitti were tracking back on both sides, Danny did his job when he had to and Amado played well defensively. We wanted to keep Amado in more of a free role to be a playmaker because that's what he's best at and look what he did.

"Me and Pablo will win our fair share of headers, but we won't win most. When you put (the 6-foot-3 Dichio) on top, he occupies both centre backs because he's so big. Maybe it takes two guys to win a header over him and he gives you another dimension.

"So our defenders feel a lot better about kicking the ball upfield rather than dribbling out of the back."

Velez bumped Kevin Harmse from the lineup.

"He sat in the wings, he's been patient, he's been encouraging the lads to do well," Cummins said of Velez. "He was solid, he won his headers.

"It's just not that (starting) 11 that go out there, it's a squad game. He's been told you wait for your chance and take it and he's done that. I'm not saying whether he's starting (tomorrow), but if not, I'm sure he'll be disappointed."

LANCE.HORNBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


Photos