TORONTO – Danny Koevermans admits that the adjustment to Major League Soccer has not come easily, particularly the travel. But judging by the results, the Toronto FC striker has managed to settle in just fine.
In his seven MLS games, the former Dutch International has scored six goals. On Tuesday, he scored the goal as TFC beat Tauro FC of Panama 1-0 to give the Reds their second victory in Group C of the CONCACAF Champions League.
So getting goals has come naturally. But the travel in MLS is more arduous than it is playing in Europe.
“It is difficult,” Koevermans admitted on Tuesday night. “You’re not used to it. As a European player the farthest you can go with a plane is maybe three hours and that’s it.”
Besides the trips for league games, in Toronto’s case there have been there have been trips to Nicaragua, Panama and Mexico City for the CCL games.
“Here, you have a six hours flight during the league and we play Champions League and they are also flights of a minimum of four hours,” Koevermans said. “With all the traveling, that makes it so tough. I knew it up front but I didn’t know it was that hard.”
Toronto’s next game is Saturday when they play Chivas USA at the Home Depot Center (10:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online). Then they fly back home for an important CCL match against Pumas UNAM at BMO Field.
Koevermans and midfielder Torsten Frings, a former German international, signed on as Designated Players on June 29. They played their first game on July 20, an MLS match against FC Dallas.
The longtime PSV Eindhoven man said it was difficult starting out in the middle of the season without the benefit of training camp and going against players who were fit.
“Everybody’s strong here, everybody’s quick and we had a holiday,” said Koevermans. “I think we had five days of training when we started.”
Koevermans missed two league games and one CCL game after twisting his left ankle in Panama City on Aug. 18 in the 2-1 win over Tauro. The next day his whole leg hurt, including his Achilles and hamstring. He came back as a late replacement in Columbus and the goals have come with conditioning and chances.
“He's a very good striker,” head coach and technical director Aron Winter said. “He's not only waiting for the ball, but he anticipates, watching always, [asking] 'OK, when I'm in the box where could the ball fall [so] that I'm close to the ball to make a goal?'”