TFC shores up back end

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

Mo Johnston had no choice but to make a move to help his depleted back line this week.

Under fire in some quarters for not acting sooner this season to improve depth, Toronto FC's director of soccer acquired veteran Major League Soccer defender Nick Garcia from the San Jose Earthquakes yesterday, as well as the rights to Canadian forward Ali Gerba, for a third-round draft pick in next year's draft.

TFC, which has lost three consecutive games, also released veteran Canadian goalkeeper Greg Sutton to make room for Garcia on the roster.

Garcia is in demand after defender/team captain Jim Brennan hurt his ankle in a freak injury during a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday. The swelling increased rapidly over the weekend and he'll miss TFC's match against the New York Red Bulls this Saturday.

Toronto also learned it will be without fleet-footed defender Marvell Wynne, who already was away with the U.S. national team in World Cup qualifier action last week, but now has been added to the American squad playing in this month's Confederations Cup.

"First and foremost we want to thank Greg for everything he has done for this club," said Johnston in a statement. "Greg has always been the consummate professional, he was the first goalkeeper signed by this club, and this was a difficult decision to make. We wish him all the best."

The Hamilton-born Sutton had some injury issues early in his TFC stint, then this spring was usurped by Swiss rookie Stefan Frei, a high draft pick who has played almost every game. Toronto also has newcomer Brian Edwards to play goal.

Garcia, 30, is a 10-year MLS veteran, part of the group that helped San Jose rank as one of MLS's best defensive teams.

"We tried to bring him in before and finally were able to get a deal done," Johnston said. "He plays 90 minutes every game, he's quick, and he knows this league inside and out.

"(Gerba) is another one that has been on our radar, and we look forward to sitting down with him and getting a contract signed as soon as we can."

Johnston plans to comment officially on a number of issues tomorrow, from the trade, to the controversial Real Madrid exhibition game to the relationship with TFC's fan base that has been strained this season. The club's record is 4-5-4 after a promising start.


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