About half an hour into today's reserve team scrimmage against San Jose, TFC rookie defender Mike Zaher launched the ball downfield hoping one of his strikers, the guy wearing jersey number 28, would sprint underneath the pass, collect the ball and make something happen.
When the ball rolled harmlessly to San Jose's goalkeeper Zaher shook his head in frustration.
"You've gotta make a run," he muttered, half to himself and half to his intended target.
Truthfully, I don't know the guy's name, and watching him play I could tell I'd never need to. The wrinkled face, flabby thighs and belly jiggling beneath a baggy jersey all told me he was a training camp body, on the field only because TFC needed him this week to fill out its reserve roster. The lack of initiative he showed told me he'll be lucky if he's still here when this tournament ends on Saturday.
But he provided some intrigue late in the second half when he suffered a Charley horse.
I'm still not sure TFCs training staff knows what was wrong with him. He limped to the sideline motioning toward his leg, but because he only speaks Spanish he couldn't elaborate. Because TFC's trainers only speak English they couldn't ask him to. And because the club hasn't yet completed a rumoured deal for former MLS MVP and Honduran international Amado Guevara, nobody around could translate.
But quickly it became clear he wouldn't be able to continue.
A classic case of addition by subtraction?
But both teams entered this game with only 11 players, and TFC's coaches didn't want to finish the game with just 10.
All this happened with the team's starters sitting in the bleachers, but after a practice earlier that day, and with a game the next night against New York, none of them was going to step in.
So rookie Brian Edwards did it.
Yes he's a goalkeeper, and no he didn't even bring his shin pads yesterday because he wasn't expecting to play, but he borrowed a pair, jogged along the sidelines a few minutes and, with about 10 minutes remaining, jumped into the game at striker.
And he didn't do badly.
He made safe passes and played solid defense, and though didn't play well enough to make Mo Johnston forget the team still needs an impact forward, he accomplished at least as much as the guy he replaced.
But even with two goalkeepers on the field TFC couldn't keep the ball out of the net.
San Jose won 1-0.
-- Morgan Campbell