LA Galaxy's loan losses are TFC's gain

Los Angeles Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez battles Houston Dynamo forward Brian Ching (R) for a...

Los Angeles Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez battles Houston Dynamo forward Brian Ching (R) for a header in the second half during their MLS Cup soccer final match in Carson, California, November 20, 2011. (REUTERS/Alex Gallardo)

Kurtis Larson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:21 PM ET

It’s a lesson the LA Galaxy have learned for a second time.

After a ruptured Achilles knocked David Beckham out of the 2010 MLS season, a torn ACL, suffered during a two-month loan to Nurnberg, has sidelined the Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez, highlighting the lunacy of MLS players seeking short-term moves.

“I don’t like (them),” Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter said, when asked about the sudden uptick in MLS teams loaning out players. “MLS is a very tough league. The travel, time difference, altitude ... I think when you have those two months (to rest), it’s very important.”

With the Galaxy already losing a workhorse in Juninho and Beckham yet to sign for an additional year, before this week, most would have penciled in the Galaxy to easily dispatch the rebuilding Reds on March 7.

Add to that the legitimate risk with Landon Donovan going on loan to Everton and Robbie Keane apparently being sent on a two-month loan to Aston Villa, Galaxy supporters have to be concerned with so much turmoil heading into preseason.

“It’s their problem,” Winter said, when reflecting on how Toronto matches up against the floundering MLS champions. “My problem is to get my team ready for when we start on (March 7). If you’re going to (loan players), when are you going to rest the players? They are playing the whole year.”

Despite league officials reporting Gonzalez was as good as gone come next summer, other than earning a very small chunk of change, why risk a player’s health for such a brief period of time?

And it’s not just happening out west.

As Thierry Henry looks set to begin a short spell at Arsenal, one that might drift well into New York’s pre-season, the Red Bulls’ Tim Ream is tempting Bolton after impressing the club on trial.

“It’s a pity because the season starts in March and (they’re) going to miss the most important part of the season — the preseason,” Winter said.

There’s a fine line between business and recklessness, but with Nurnberg reportedly ready to make a move for Gonzalez during the summer transfer window, why was he made available to the Bundesliga side for the next few months?

Upon each day, TFC’s path to the CONCACAF semifinals becomes a little clearer. The league has already handicapped the Galaxy by forcing them to play just days before TFC’s return-leg in LA.

“They’ve got a good team,” Winter said. “It’s a pity some important players (may) not be part of the team.”

ROGERS ALL THE RAGE

Although it remains two months away, the decision to begin TFC’s 2012 campaign with a Champions League quarterfinal against the Galaxy inside the Rogers Centre is picking up steam.

With the club’s director of business operations Paul Beirne announcing that 73 percent of the dome will be priced below $30, there’s a sense that the match could be something special.

While it was announced Friday that capacity for the game will be slightly under 50,000, the match could break an all-time attendance record for a Cup game between two MLS teams.

Last year’s U.S. Open Cup saw 35,616 watch the home side Seattle Sounders defeat the Chicago Fire 2-0.

DRAFT TALK

The MLS Combine is off and running and the Reds might be looking to shore things up at the back.

“The priority is always the best player,” Winter said. “We are looking defensive because when you look up front and in midfield we have a lot of players.”

With two high picks — fourth and 12th — in this year’s draft, the Reds are facing a dilemma of whether to pass up the best available player to seek out the best available central defender — Generation Adidas prospect Andrew Jean-Baptiste.

After informing the room Friday that both Adrian Cann and Dicoy Williams won’t return from knee injuries by the start of pre-season, the Reds should lock up a steady presence at the back for insurance.

RONGEN JOINS REDS

Scheduled to open in May or June of this year, Toronto’s new state-of-the-art Downsview training centre will come with some experience.

Former U.S. under-20 national team coach Thomas Rongen has been named director of TFC’s Academy.

“(He’s) the right person,” Winter said. “He knows a lot about the way we want to develop and how we want to play.”

Finishing a decade-long playing career in the 1980s, Rongen went on to manage four MLS clubs before guiding American Samoa to its first World Cup qualifying win in November.

BRIEFLY

Winter opened Friday’s conversation with a statement on the current status of winger Joao Plata and defender Richard Eckersley saying there’s a “99%” chance both will be back despite remaining out of contract ... According to Beirne, 85% of TFC season ticket holders have renewed seats for 2012 while fans on waiting lists picked up the vacated 15%.


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