Gerba remains part of TFC

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:01 PM ET

With the regular-season opener just days away, Toronto FC head coach Preki confirmed the team's worst-kept secret Tuesday morning.

Without revealing exactly how the club would sever ties with Canadian forward Ali Gerba, Preki made it clear at practice that Gerba would not be a member of TFC for much longer and certainly would not be suiting up Saturday in Columbus.

"I've told him he's not in our plans," Preki said. "He's not playing. Hopefully he can make a decision with management and then we can both move in the right direction."

Gerba, who has a guaranteed contract, was a bust in Toronto, scoring just once in 11 games last season and was not performing any better in the pre-season.

Preki said Gerba did not fit the description of the type of player he is looking for going forward.

When asked to elaborate, the first-year TFC coach said he wants "mobile (players), people who run around, people who work both sides of the ball (and) who are committed to the group."

Gerba was sent home from training in South Carolina by the team last week and is still working out at BMO Field.

Meanwhile, the squad's highest-paid player, Julian de Guzman, expressed some concern with the state of the roster. Now minus Gerba, TFC which still has multiple open spots to fill, is also without injured forwards Chad Barrett and Jacob Peterson, as well as defender Emmanuel Gomez.

"This is the first time in my career I've been in a situation like this," midfielder de Guzman said.

"It's unfortunate that we don't have enough numbers. (But) we're going to deal with the numbers we have. (The team) will have to do some research in getting players. I guess that will come along during the season."

That there will be a season at all was pleasing to all on hand. The league and its players came to a five-year labour agreement over the weekend.

"We're very content about the result," said defender Marvell Wynne, who helped negotiate the deal, calling it a big improvement.

"I think we came to a very good mutual ground."

Added teammate Dwayne De Rosario: "Everyone is happy. Now we can put all that stuff behind us and concentrate on the season."


Videos

Photos