January 26, 2012
Reds to beef up back line
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
TORONTO - No MLS squad surrendered more than the 59 goals Toronto FC conceded last season.
To that end, the club continues to try to beef up its back line.
Ecuadorian defender Geovanny Caicedo should provide a solid option at centre back.
The 30-year-old was signed on Thursday after many years playing in Ecuador, most recently with LDU Quito, TFC forward Joao Plata’s former club. He has earned eight caps for Ecuador.
The burly, 6-foot-2, 184-pound Caicedo is expected to provide strength in the air and is said to have dependable footwork.
Reds head coach Aron Winter said Caicedo is a good player with extensive experience who will help the team.
“Very strong player, good skills, guy who can play one-against-one,” Winter said when asked to evaluate Caicedo.
He also indicated that Chilean defender Miguel Aceval, 28, is still being pursued and could arrive at any time. Aceval can play at various spots.
“We are still working on a lot of things. When the moment is right then we are going to announce (signings).”
The permanent signing of Richard Eckersley will provide stability at right back, while newly acquired veteran Jeremy Hall said he is comfortable either on the right or left.
Ty Harden — who closed out the 2011 campaign in extremely strong fashion — returns, along with youngsters Ashtone Morgan and Doneil Henry. The Reds also drafted defender Aaron Maund, 21, 12th overall out of Notre Dame and he will compete for a spot.
TFC will get a significant boost when centre backs Adrian Cann and Dicoy Williams return from serious knee injuries.
Team director of player development Paul Mariner believes many of Toronto’s woes last season can be traced to the season-ending injuries to Cann and Williams.
“It was unfortunate that we lost (them) at the time that we did, it certainly hampered our progress, I firmly believe that,” he said,
Cann was thrilled to be able to do limited work following knee surgery and two-a-day rehab sessions in Los Angeles, though his return is still a ways off.
“I’m happy with where I’m at because I’m ahead of the game,” said the Toronto native and 2010 team MVP.
“I feel really good, running felt nice and strong, cutting. Next part is to participate with the rest of the squad gradually and move into the full training. From there move into exhibition matches.
“Everything now is structured whereas games it’s all reaction. I’m excited, I’m looking forward to that. The sooner I touch the field, that’s where the happiness is. That’s where I feel comfortable.”
Williams will take quite a bit longer, Winter cautioned.
COULD SECOND DE GUZMAN JOIN TEAM CANADA?
Veteran midfielder Julian de Guzman continues to put the full court press on a significant soccer player.
His younger brother, Jonathan.
Jonathan, who became a Dutch citizen in 2008 and has suited up for Holland’s under-23 team, would instantly become one of Canada’s top players as the country attempts to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
Julian de Guzman, 30, has been a mainstay with the squad and a key player.
“Hopefully in the next month you’ll see him (make a call),” the TFC midfielder said of Jonathan, 24, who currently toils for Villarreal in Spain and appears to no longer be in the Dutch national team’s plans.
“As a brother I’ve always supported him in his decisions ... Finally, he kind of considered playing for the Canadian national team. I spoke to him as a brother saying this is something that would be great for him, for myself, for the country.
“He could be a big help. He definitely feels Canadian himself, so, he would like to step forward and make that opportunity happen.”
Your move, Jonathan.