|Toronto FC's Alan Gordon celebrates a goal he scored against Chivas USA earlier this season. (Abelimages/Getty Images/AFP)
TFC must keep its eyes on the prize on Sunday in Colorado.
It would be quite easy for the Major League Soccer side to look past its date against the defending MLS Cup champs and ahead to Wednesday’s home clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
After all, a good result against Vancouver would bring the Reds a third straight Canadian championsip and the Voyageurs Cup is about the only trophy this club can realistically compete for.
But Toronto has given away so many points at home so far this season, it can’t afford to mail in its performance against the Rapids.
Though the team was the toast of the league back in November, injuries have taken their toll on the Rapids. Colorado has scored just three goals in its past six games
It will be interesting to see what type of lineup TFC head coach Aron Winter trots out.
Does he rest some veterans knowing the Vancouver game comes just three days later and that few teams have much success in the altitude in Colorado?
His midfield will be a mess regardless. Julian de Guzman is out because of suspension, while Tony Tchani and Jacob Peterson both had to be subbed out after getting injured in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw in Vancouver.
It is possible that big forward Alan Gordon could return to the lineup though.
The Reds took a hit off the field this week when they announced three Toronto FC Academy players were leaving the program.
Keven Aleman, Dino Gardiner and Jonathan Lao left to pursue other opportunities.
Aleman, regarded by many as Canada’s top young prospect, is the massive loss.
According to multiple sources who spoke with the Sun, Aleman had been generating heavy interest from some of the biggest teams in Germany, including Bayern Munich and did not want to sign a contract holding himself to TFC when he potentially could cash in by heading to Europe.
“We ask that our Academy players sign a letter of commitment, which is an agreement between our club and player that they will receive the best training and development opportunities, with the goal of reaching the first team,” Winter said in a release.
“These players have decided not to commit to our Academy in order to pursue tryouts overseas.”
If Aleman had previously signed a deal with TFC (when he first joined the Academy) and eventually lived up to his potential, signing overseas, the club would have been entitled to considerable compensation. Now, that won’t be the case.
Aleman, who has drawn comparisons to former Reds captain Dwayne De Rosario, is expected to star for Canada at the coming FIFA U-17 World Cup.