Arrests could be blessing in disguise for TFC

Toronto FC's Ryan Johnson (right) fights for the ball with New England Revolution's Kevin Alston...

Toronto FC's Ryan Johnson (right) fights for the ball with New England Revolution's Kevin Alston during Saturday's game at BMO Field. (REUTERS)

KURTIS LARSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:50 PM ET

TORONTO - Texas justice.

Head coach Paul Mariner wouldn’t say much about it when asked about Nick Soolsma and Miguel Aceval’s status with the club.

“They were at the (game) as far as I know.”

Despite Luis Silva — the third player arrested at a Houston night club early Monday morning — appearing as a late substitute against New England, Soolsma and Aceval were denied a place in Saturday night’s reserve league match after being taken into custody.

Although all three were booked for public intoxication before last week’s game against the Houston Dynamo, the club might use the arrests to release a pair of players in Soolsma and Aceval that Mariner simply doesn’t rate.

Heading into Saturday’s match, Mariner refused to comment on the situation as the club continues to work with the MLS players’ union.

When contacted by the Sun on Wednesday, union executive Bob Foose refused to comment.

But with Silva already back in the side, it’s clear the club is doing what it can to clear space, cap room and an international spot, especially with the July transfer window looming.

Having Silva, Aceval and Soolsma’s mug shots printed throughout the city last week could turn out to be a blessing.

Should the Reds manage to terminate a couple of contracts due to the arrests, having an extra $300,000 in cap to go about grabbing the central defender Aron Winter couldn’t find might start the process of turning the Reds in the right direction.

FRINGS ON FUMES

Torsten Frings’ half-volley attempt that sailed harmlessly wide two minutes into Saturday’s contest was an indicator of how ineffective the German was throughout his 67 minutes.

“Torsten put a lot of mileage in (this week) and so did Julian (de Guzman),” Mariner said of his decision to pull the pair during Saturday’s second half. “Julian has been away with the national team. It’s just a football fact that you can only do so much.”

Amid concerns the 35-year-old German is struggling to meet the demands of an MLS travel schedule that doesn’t resemble anything he encountered in Europe, TFC’s captain connected just 20 passes in over an hour of work on the weekend.

Even more telling, according to Opta statistics, Frings didn’t win a tackle in two halves of work.

As Mariner vehemently pointed out, his midfield duo has logged quite a bit of kilometres this month. But it’s something to keep an eye on with two more matches this week against Montreal and New York.

“Obviously I’m going to rest them up this week,” Mariner said. “We’ve got to go again in Montreal in a massive game for us — a local derby.

We will be ready, but the disappointment is palpable. (We’re) absolutely gutted.”

Although he was tireless throughout Toronto’s march to a fourth consecutive Canadian Championship, cross-continent treks could be wearing on the former German international a third of the way through his first full season.

THIS AND THAT

For a side allowing piles of goals, travelling to Stade Saputo mid-week won’t be easy, especially with the Montreal Impact looking to avenge going out to TFC in the Canadian Cup last month ... Since opening the club’s reconstructed 20,000-seat venue two weekends ago, Montreal has registered back-to-back four-goal games at home ... Don’t let Saturday’s scoreline fool you. Without at least four timely saves from Milos Kocic, the Revs would have walked away with even bigger smiles on their faces ... Danny Koevermans is well on his way to joining Danny Dichio and Jim Brennan on TFC’s Wall of Honour. Too early? Maybe, but the Dutchman has 14 goals in 15 league starts over less than two full seasons. In 31 appearances in all competition, Koevermans has 16 goals — good enough for third behind Dwayne De Rosario and Chad Barrett ... With another full season left on his contract, Koevermans could become the club’s all-time leading goal-scorer by the end of 2013.

KOCIC NOT ‘SUPERMAN’

If he could point a finger, he might.

“Whatever I do doesn’t matter,” Kocic said. “I’m not Superman to come on every cross. We have to fight and be responsible for runners in the box. I told (the team) that before we started ... I hope we learn one day.”

It doesn’t look like the club’s immature back line will.

Since being on the wrong end of 2-0 result in Kansas City two weeks ago, Toronto’s embattled back four has conceded five times off crosses — something that can only be blamed on a lack of courage and the absence of a big time ball-winner at the back.

“I’m frustrated — very, very, very frustrated,” Kocic said of the goals Toronto is conceding. “If we played the way we played in the first half then nobody can beat us in this league ... Killing time is pressuring in their half and letting them make mistakes. I don’t think we’re going to win many games like this.”

At the current rate, they aren’t going to win much period.


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