CARSON, Calf. -- It's week three of Toronto FC's sophomore season and I'm in L.A.
That's got to make you happy if you're a fan of Morgan Campbell, and I'm sure at least one or two of you are. Last time I checked I had a couple of blood relatives reading this blog and you guys still love me, right?
Well, even if you hate me, my presence here is good news if you love soccer in Toronto. It means I'm serious about following through on my promise to add depth and breadth to the Star's TFC coverage this season. And someone above values soccer enough to spend the cash good coverage sometimes requires.
So yeah, I'm glad I'm here.
But what about the people who didn't make the trip?
Like Andrew Boyens.
While his team and some of the people who cover them enjoy 29-degree temperatures and cloudless skies in Southern California, he's still in gray and rainy Toronto.
As far as I know he's not hurt. I watched him practice on Thursday.
This morning I got a text message from a reader saying he'd been released, but that hasn't happened either. Mo Johnston says Boyens is still on the team.
He just couldn't crack the 18-man roster.
Johnston didn't want to talk too much about it, but sounded very matter-of-fact in affirming his confidence in the guys who did make the trip to L.A.
It didn't seem personal. As we discussed here last week, it's a numbers game.
Julius James played 45 minutes in an exhibition game earlier this week, and now that he's fully recovered from the dislocated shoulder he suffered in the preseason it'll be tough to keep him off the field. I've only seen him in game action for about 20 minutes, but I didn't even take that long to figure out he's ready to make an impact. Factor in his injury and the time he's spent watching and waiting, and he figures to hit the field hungry, and playing hard to prove a point.
That's great news for TFC fans longing for stability on a back line that looked shaky against DC last week.
They've even got a song ready for him.
But it's bad news for Boyens, who appears to be the subtraction that made room for James' addition.
Since opening day, through free agency or injury rehab, TFC has added four game-ready bodies to its camp -- James, Laurent Robert, Amado Guevara and Rohan Ricketts. Trading Mike Zaher and waiving Collin Samuel helped alleviate the crowding, but not much. And if former Birmingham defender Olivier Tebily signs, the squeeze at central defence gets that much tighter.
When numbers swell like that, somebody's got to get crunched.
And right now it looks like it's Boyens.
One More Number
The MLS Players Union has updated its list of player salaries, revealing that TFC has a new highest-paid player.
It's Robert, who will make $319,800 in base salary, and $337,000 when you factor in bonuses. He's still far from the league's highest paid player. It's not tough to guess who that is.
But Laurent still makes more than Gabe Gala, Joey Melo, Nana Atakorah-Gyan, Andrea Lombardo, Pat Phelan, Tyler Rosenlund, Jarrod Smith, Kevin Harmse and Todd Dunivant.
-- Morgan Campbell