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John Carver is looking for some soccer players, any soccer players.
In a story widely-reported in Canada, Carver’s Toronto FC will have to take on Chivas USA on Saturday missing nine players due to international duty. Toronto petitioned MLS to have the match re-scheduled, and the Toronto Sun reported that Chivas USA was not opposed to a re-scheduling, but MLS rejected the request.
Why? An MLS spokesman stated that MLS did not want to set a precedent by re-scheduling and felt it was unfair to other teams that might be missing players.
That response is acceptable for a team missing two or three players, but forcing a team to play without nine players is ridiculous.
The main issue isn’t the league’s decision to reject the request of re-scheduling the match. The issue is the league’s continued insistence on playing a full MLS schedule on an international fixture date. MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis told media this week that the league is looking hard at trying to work around international fixture dates but that the limited number of available dates makes avoiding them all impossible.
For now, Toronto FC will have to get by without most of its best players. Here is who is missing:
- Amado Guevara (Honduras)
- Greg Sutton (Canada)
- Jim Brennan (Canada)
- Marvell Wynne (USA)
- Carl Robinson (Wales)
- Julius James (Trinidad & Tobago)
- Carlos Ruiz (Guatemala)
- Tyrone Marshall (Jamaica)
- Jarrod Smith (New Zealand)
Just how bad are things for Toronto? The club is trying to sign the team’s chief scout, Tim Regan, to a one-day contract so he can be made available for the match. Regan spent parts of five seasons as a defender in MLS before taking a position in the Toronto front office earlier this season. (UPDATE-Sources tell SBI that Regan has been cleared to play for TFC, which is also signing Toronto Lynx defender Rick Titus for the match.)
Those of you who think Toronto should just bite the bullet should consider that the decision to play the game has an impact on more than just Toronto and Chivas USA. It could impact the teams in the Western Conference that are fighting with Chivas USA for one of the likely three playoff spots in the Western Conference.
So what do you think of Toronto’s situation? Specifically, what do you think of the league’s decision to deny Toronto’s request to re-schedule the Chivas USA match?
Share your thoughts on this issue in the comments section below.