TFC cavalry arrives in nick of time

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:49 PM ET

TORONTO - The cavalry will finally arrive for Toronto FC when they engage FC Dallas on Wednesday night.

Short on star power and offensive acumen, in step German international standout Torsten Frings and striker Danny Koevermans, the club's new designated players.

Both will start, though Koevermans will not play a full 90 minutes and Frings probably won't either.

Jamaican forward Ryan Johnson, acquired via trade last week from San Jose also is available to help TFC's attack, which is the worst in the league on a per-game basis (17 goals in 18 games).

Fellow new arrivals Terry Dunfield and Leandre Griffit will not play. Midfielder Julian de Guzman (knee) will also be on the sidelines.

Johnson, who notched 17 goals and 13 assists in 99 games with the Earthquakes, is eager to end a long scoring drought and hopes he is returned to his natural spot on the field.

"Playing a left forward position I'm going to be having chances in front of goal a lot more," Johnson said after training on Tuesday.

"I'm just going to try to concentrate and put the ball in when I get my chance. At the same time, doing what I've been doing when it comes to assists, swinging 'em in from the left side and trying to create as many chances for Danny, (Joao) Plata and guys like that."

Will TFC finally start hitting the back of the goal with regularity?

"That's what we're here for," Koevermans said.

The big Dutchman is anxious to get back on the field after his season concluded in mid-May.

"I got my holiday and I tried to stay as fit as possible," he said.

"I'm looking forward to playing a game again, it's been a long time now and (Wednesday) is already an important game. Normally in Europe you have pre-season, you are playing for nothing but this is immediately an important one."

Indeed, TFC needs to string some victories together to get back into the playoff race and Dallas, a strong side that came up short in the MLS Cup against Colorado the last time it played in Toronto will provide an immediate test.

Particularly for Toronto's defence.

As much as the club needs offence, its leaky defence is even more of an issue. TFC has surrendered 36 goals this season and centre backs Adrian Cann and Dicoy Williams are lost until 2012.

Which makes the arrival of Andy Iro, formerly of the archrival Columbus Crew, crucial.

The 26-year-old Englishman is a formidable force at the back who inexplicably fell out of favour in Columbus.

Iro knows things won't come together for the Reds immediately, but can't wait to get the process rolling, claiming all of the changes make it seem a little like a second training camp.

"There's always an optimism in pre-season and I think we're kind of experiencing that coming into the second half of the season," Iro said.

"You can see the renewed energy from the players that have been here and seen the struggles the past few months. They're interested as well in seeing what we can do."

But it will take time.

"I'd be lying if I said, yeah, we're going to come in and click and gel straight away. You're getting used to where people go, what passes they look for, where they want it.

"It's going to be difficult. We hope 11 players are going to work together and the quality will show through. It will be a gradual process. Hopefully we can start with a win."

Head coach Aron Winter is also anxious to see this new group as the old one wasn't to his liking.

"After four or five months, it was not good enough," Winter said.

"I was not satisfied, and that's why I made those (moves)."


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