TORONTO – Not much has gone right for Toronto FC in a disastrous 2012, and even as the season draws to a close, they still aren't getting any breaks.
Interim captain and defensive mainstay Darren O'Dea returned from World Cup qualifying duty with the Republic of Ireland with a thigh injury that will rule him out of Saturday’s home finale against the rival Montreal Impact (1 pm ET, TSN/RDS in Canada, MLS Live in the USA).
The injury comes as a further blow to the Reds, who already knew they would be without forward Ryan Johnson because of the Jamaican's suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
“So I’ve got to reshuffle it,” head coach Paul Mariner said after training on Friday. “It just seems that the way that the season has gone, we never seem to be picking the same team these days, which is always unfortunate and definitely disrupts things.”
With O’Dea out, Jeremy Hall, Richard Eckersley, Logan Emory and Ashtone Morgan will likely form the back four.
“It’s very similar to what we had before Darren came here,” Mariner said. “It’s somewhat ironic because it’s the back four we went on a decent run with.”
Freddy Hall will start in goal while ahead of Milos Kocic, who will be in reserve after spending most of the past month with his newborn triplets.
“Any fathers out there will understand that if you’ve got triplets and one’s in and out of hospital or intensive care, it’s not the easiest time for anyone, let alone a guy that’s supposed to get out there in front of thousands of people and perform,” Mariner said.
A bit of good news did arrive on Friday, as DP striker Eric Hassli stated that he is ready to try playing for the first time since Sept. 15, when he suffered a sprained ankle in a 1-1 draw against Philadelphia.
“There’s a chance he’s going to play,” Mariner said. “He won’t do 90, that’s a certainty.”
Yet there are injury concerns up top as well, with Quincy Amarikwa out because of a hamstring injury. That means Hassli would likely join Luis Silva up front, though for how long is up in the air.
“If I can just play 60 minutes, or 70, or 90, I don’t know,” Hassli said. “My body is going to tell. [The ankle] is not painful at all. It’s just maybe [stiff]. It’s moving way better every day.”