By DAN KARELL
Toronto FC will have an early look at what it will be like without Jermain Defoe in the starting lineup, long before they could potentially lose him for the World Cup.
Following practice on Wednesday, TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen confirmed to the assembled media that Defoe would not travel with the club to face the Columbus Crew on Saturday as the Englishman deals with a hamstring injury. Defoe was substituted in the 61st minute of last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake with the suspected hamstring problem and he was held out of practice on both Tuesday and Wednesday as a precaution.
“He had the scan. It’s a slight strain, so I think he’ll be out for the short term. It’s not a major strain but (he’ll) be definitely unavailable this weekend,” Nelsen told SportsNet.
Defoe isn’t the only player to give Nelsen headaches right now. Both Doneil Henry (knee) and Jonathan Osorio (hamstring) are listed as questionable on this week’s injury report and TFC captain Steven Caldwell has been suspended for one game by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for a strong tackle he made on Ned Grabavoy.
Defoe missed what would have been his final match for Tottenham on Feb. 27 against Dnipro due to a hamstring injury.
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FIRE SEND ROLFE TO D.C. UNITED
With scoring at a premium in D.C. United’s lineup, the club acquired a veteran forward to help the team moving forward.
D.C. United announced on Wednesday that they’ve acquired Chris Rolfe from the Chicago Fire in exchange for an undisclosed amount of allocation money. Considering the emergence of Harrison Shipp, Quincy Amarikwa, and Benji Joya, Rolfe became expendable to the Fire.
“Chris brings great technical ability as well as National Team and European experience to our club,” D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper said in a statement. “He plays with a high soccer IQ and will give us more options in our attack. As a well-liked and respected veteran in our league, we look forward to him joining the team.”
Rolfe’s acquisition helps provide D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen with more attacking options as he copes with the continued absence of Chris Pontius. Rolfe has scored 52 goals and added 24 assists into his eighth season in Major League Soccer, all of which had been with the Fire.
SPORTING KC SIGN MUÑOZ
Sporting Kansas City have quickly filled the open roster spot created after parting ways with Mechack Jerome.
The club announced on Tuesday afternoon that they had signed former UCLA standout Victor Muñoz, pending the receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate. Muñoz was drafted in the second round (29th overall) of the 2014 MLS Draft by D.C. United, but was released after the preseason.
“Victor is a player we saw in college and had trained with us last year,” Manager Peter Vermes said in a statement. “What we liked about him was that the style of play that he played over in Spain is something that definitely fits in with the way that we play. It’s a good addition to our team and a young kid who we hope can grow into our system.”
Muñoz, a former member of Real Madrid’s youth academy, was recruited to play at Iona Collage but transferred to UCLA after a standout freshman year. During his time in Westwood, Muñoz scored three goals and added an impressive 23 assists.
FC DALLAS LOAN SPAN TO ORLANDO CITY
Sporting KC isn’t the only team sending their young stars to Orlando for playing time.
FC Dallas announced on Wednesday that they’ve sent 22-year-old midfielder Brian “Cobi” Span on a season-long loan to Orlando City SC, pending U.S. Soccer Federation approval. While it’s a season-long deal, FC Dallas can recall Span at any time.
Span was acquired last January in a weighted lottery after spending two seasons in Sweden’s Allsvenskan with Djurgårdens. Span had yet to make an FC Dallas gameday squad this season but has made two appearances for the FC Dallas reserves.
What do you think of these reports? How much will TFC miss Defoe and Caldwell in the starting lineup? Like the trade? Think that Rolfe could step into the D.C. United starting lineup?
Share your thoughts below.