Mo making moves to strengthen footing

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

Having absorbed the speed bump of John Carver's resignation, manager Mo Johnston is trying to keep the Toronto FC bus in the fast lane.

There are injured players to be worked back into the lineup such as Dwayne De Rosario (hamstring) and first-round pick O'Brian White (knee), teenage Gambian defender Amadou Sanyang is being evaluated with more kids en route while the search continues for a centre back, a position Johnston said was the "missing piece of the puzzle" during the pre-season.

"We had targeted two (international transfers), myself and John, but now we have to re-evaluate," Johnston said yesterday at the press conference formally announcing Chris Cummins as interim head coach and Canadian Nick Dasovic as first assistant.

"We have to speak to the (new) coaches because they might want to change one or two guys in the room. I'm more than happy to do that, but what we can't do is upset the first team."

TFC, with two consecutive wins and a 3-2-2 record, will attempt to hold first place in the Eastern Conference on Saturday at home against the Columbus Crew.

"I don't think we've missed a beat," Johnston said. "I haven't had any sleepless nights over (Carver). What's happened was straight forward.

"It's exciting for the young coaches, the way we've played the past two games with an air of confidence. I've not given (Cummins and Dasovic) a time scale, but they have the job right now.

"Trust me, I'm not looking for anyone else, though I've had a lot of calls. I believe in these two young guys. Sometimes, you need a chance."

Cummins and Carver are British-trained coaches, who, until last season, were unaware how different Major League Soccer's workings are from Europe. The nuances, such as officiating, eventually drove Carter out.

"I'm more laid back," Cummins insisted yesterday. "These things don't bother me."

Tom Anselmi, executive vice-president and COO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., said there was nothing to Carver's concerns that TFC was being picked on by MLS because of its Canadian roots.

"I don't think we're targeted," Anselmi said. "There are consequences when a coach wants to squawk off about the refereeing.

"I talked to the commissioner (Don Garber) as recently as (Tuesday). He knows we believe in the league, we feel comfortable the direction it's going and the direction of soccer in North America.

"We want to grow the game in this country. For Daso to move up is terrific. He'll be a head-coach candidate some day. There are lots of great Canadian coaches here and abroad, such as Frank Yallop in San Jose."

Johnston hopes Sanyang can play on the big team after he turns 18 on Aug 1.

"He's in the mould of a Maurice Edu, all leggy, gets around the field and makes tackles and he's a hell of a kid," Johnston said.

"We have three young kids coming in with White, Nana Attakora and Sanyang."


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