Carving up the refs - Sportsnet.ca
Now I hate to endorse someone else for the job I do, but Toronto FC coach John Carver needs a blog. The animated spokesperson for the club is full of 'off the record' commentary that, if written under his own volition, would make the rest of us obsolete.
But thankfully, what Carver says on the record is almost as good.
On Monday, an at times frustrated Carver addressed a small gathering in his office after a light training session BMO Field - and within the first few minutes fired a warning shot over the bow of the officiating crew in charge of Wednesday night's crucial Nutrilite Canadian Championship match in Vancouver.
"One thing I will say is that when we go there I just hope we get a little bit of protection for our quality players," Carver said. "Our flair players were eliminated as soon as they got in possession of the ball.
Carver half-joked that he may be paranoid, but recounted a few incidents in the loss to Vancouver where he thought liberties were taken with the legs of both Marvel Wynne and Laurent Robert.
"I just hope that whoever is the official on the game is going to be strong enough to deal with that and give us an opportunity to show teams what we can do."
The final tally on fouls committed in the first Vancouver match was 14-10 in favour of the Whitecaps, with Justin Moose collecting a modest five.
On occasion Carver has commented on the lack of killer instinct shown by his players in certain situations. In the 3-1 win over Colorado a few weeks back, Carver was upset over conceding a late goal in lieu of keeping a clean sheet. On Wednesday, his team has a chance to eliminate Vancouver form the Nutrilite Canadian Championship and set up a winner-take-all showdown with Montreal on July 22.
"The only unfortunate thing is that I cannot put the ball in the back of the net for them, but the good thing is we are creating chances and sooner or later your luck does turn and you start putting those chances away."
One of the players responsible for putting those chances away will not travel with the club to the west coast as Danny Dichio will remain in Toronto to treat a suspected concussion. The big striker picked up the head injury against the Whitecaps, and can only cite blocking a shot which struck the top of his head as the possible cause.
"We have got a slight problem with Danny Dichio. He has got a concussion, so he'll miss the trip along with Olivier Tebily who has got a real bad sprain in the ankle."
In his absence Carver may give 16-year-old Abdus Ibrahim a follow up to his debut against Pachuca on the weekend.
"Young Ibbs (Ibrahim) will be involved. He will almost certainly be on the bench."
For the first time in a while there were no new faces at BMO Field on Monday, but Carver insists that it is not for the lack of trying.
"Mo is working very hard. I have hardly seen him to be honest because he is working hard," Carver said. "He is working tirelessly to bring in one or two players that we need in the right areas and we all know where they are.
The area in question is up front, and the names being pursued are Paul Dickov and Darren Huckerby.
"With regards to Dickov, he flew back home (yesterday) and we put in an offer to him but we'll wait to see what becomes of that," Carver said, confirming an online report that tied the two names together. "With regards to Huckerby, I have heard nothing new. If he wants to come, then great, but if not we will go down another avenue."