TORONTO – The ever-changing nature of Toronto FC’s front line will likely continue Saturday against Sporting Kansas City with the return of a familiar face.
With striker Jeremy Brockie now back in New Zealand after a loan spell and leading scorer Robert Earnshaw battling injuries, TFC have struggled to score in recent weeks while fielding developing forwards Justin Braun and Andrew Wiedeman as the club’s primary threats up top.
Earnshaw is likely to miss action yet again in Saturday’s game due to a hamstring injury, but Toronto FC could receive a major boost in the form of Danny Koevermans’ return to the lineup. The Dutch Designated Player went 70 minutes in Toronto’s Reserves League match last weekend, and TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said he would be a part of Saturday’s game against SKC (4 pm ET; MLS Free Stream of the Week).
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“He did really well, and he has been training really well,” Nelsen said. “So hopefully Danny will be all right and we’ll see him on Saturday.”
The 34-year-old target man has struggled to recover from an ACL injury incurred last season and has made only one start and four appearances this season while totaling just 78 minutes played.
Not surprisingly, Nelsen has often pointed to the fact that he has rarely had the prodigious-when-healthy Koevermans at his disposal as a major reason why TFC will again miss the MLS playoffs this season.
Koevermans isn’t only in line to make an appearance in Toronto’s next match; he could even get the start against Peter Vermes’ squad at BMO Field.
“If Danny Koevermans is fit, then he will be involved,” Nelsen said. “We’ll see how he has responded [to training today], but hopefully everything is all right.”
As for the other big, physical center forward on Toronto’s roster, Nelsen once again stressed that his firm plan is to bring recently-acquired striker Bright Dike along slowly given that the 26-year-old is also making his way back to full fitness following an ACL injury of his own. Dike made his first appearance for Toronto last weekend against New York, but played just 15 minutes.
“Maybe he will be able to play more [than last weekend],” Nelsen said. “We’ve just got to be careful with Bright. I know from a lot of experience with ACL injuries and recoveries, sometimes you can get a wee bit too greedy with them. And this is a time not to be greedy.”