TORONTO - On Saturday night, after Toronto FC saw their winless streak in league play stretch to nine games with a 1-0 defeat to Columbus Crew, TFC supporters who stuck around for the nightcap Reserve League match were treated to an encouraging sign: the appearance of forward Danny Koevermans.
The 32-year-old Dutchman, who is coming back from a season-ending ACL injury suffered last July, looked energetic and fit in a 3-1 win for TFC.
For the TFC coaching staff have watched their side struggle to score recently: only two goals in their last five matches in all competitions. Which means Koevermans, who has notched 17 goals in just 26 league matches since joining TFC ahead of the 2011 season, cannot return soon enough.
"He is a fantastic player," assistant coach Fran O'Leary said on Saturday night. "I know that when you look at all of the DPs in the league, some of them have come in with a bigger name than Danny Koevermans'. But few have produced as much. His goal scoring rate in this league has been prolific."
But all those goal-scoring ability isn't quite ready for full action, O'Leary admitted.
"Danny has looked good in training and is, perhaps, still two to three weeks away," he said. "I think realistically we would like to get him in the next couple of weeks onto the bench and to put him on in late-game situations."
Koevermans' age had some observers wondering how strong he'd be when he came back, but it seems his rehab has gone even better than expected.
"Danny is fitter than he has ever been at any other time with the club: He is in terrific shape," O'Leary said. "Now he just needs match practice. I think pretty soon you will see him back with the first team."