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With Hassli out, TFC's Mariner mulling forward options

 

TORONTO – Ryan Johnson and Luis Silva could be reunited up front for Toronto FC in their road game against the LA Galaxy on Saturday (10:30 pm ET, TSN in Canada, watch on MLS LIVE in USA), now that Eric Hassli has been ruled out with an ankle injury.

“We could do that,” TFC head coach Paul Mariner said after Thursday afternoon’s training, without revealing his plans. “There’s a few things that we could do.”

But he does know that Hassli, who has three goals in six league games, won’t play after his MRI on Wednesday.

“It didn’t look very good,” Mariner said. “The specialist is going to have a look at [it] today, so he is obviously out for the weekend and I would say extremely doubtful for Tuesday [a CONCACAF Champions League match against Aguila in El Salvador].

“It’s a massive blow for us. It’s just one of those things, a bad tackle [by Philadelphia’s Michael Farfan] from our viewpoint and we lose one of our star players, which is unfortunate for us.”

Johnson and Silva have worked well together up front after previous injuries to Hassli or the season-ending surgery to Danny Koevermans. More recently Silva has worked up front with Hassli with Johnson in midfield.

Mariner also has mentioned the possibility of Quincy Amarikwa seeing more action depending on Hassli’s status. 

“Quincy has come on and done extremely well,” Mariner told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “He holds the ball up well. He runs the channels very well. We have a couple of options. I’ve not really made up my mind just yet. I think we’ll be all right.”

Amarikwa, obtained in a trade with the New York Red Bulls on July 21, has used his speed to stretch defenses. He might get a chance to use it against the Galaxy on Saturday.

“Stretch them in behind and make runs down channels, and just bring what I can to the table when I’m out there,” the 24-year-old said of his role. 

“LA has a lot of superstars and big names in the league. It’s a team you want to show you deserve to be in the ranks with them and show what you can do.”