Will Olivier Tebily play Saturday?
At least that's what Mo Johnston says. I wrote earlier this afternoon that Tebily had traveled to Buffalo to pick up a U.S. work permit, and a few minutes ago Johnston sounded confident that Tebily would complete the paperwork in time to become eligible for Saturday's game. A veteran of these procedures, Johnston said it takes about 15 minutes to secure the proper documents. I asked him to handicap Tebily's chances of clearing up these final details and showing up in uniform tomorrow, and he didn't leave much wiggle room.
"100 percent," he said.
There you go. The Tebily Era begins.
Will Tyler Hemming ever start again?
At least not for Toronto FC. The team released him a few hours ago.
Johnston said it's just another sign of the direction the team's trying to head in -- stronger, faster, more experienced, all that stuff.
But it's still too bad for Hemming. He spent most of last summer on the bench with a bad knee, and most of the winter refining his game with the U-23 national team as they tried to qualify for the Olympics. Sure that squad lost the CONCACAF semifinal 3-0 to the U.S., ending any chance of them heading to Beijing, but afterward TFC head coach John Carver said he was impressed with how much Hemming had improved. Nine days later Hemming made his first start in the season opener against Columbus.
In the end, though, he was a midfielder on a team full of them. Dunivant, Edu, Guevara, Robinson, Ricketts, Robert, Smith....am I missing anyone? All those guys play substantial minutes. Where was Hemming going to fit in?
Turns out, he didn't.
Will Joe Lapira ever join TFC?
OK, maybe that was a little strong, but Johnston says the team's third round pick in the 2008 draft isn't even on TFC's radar screen these days.
I know some folks got excited when TFC was able to draft Lapira 35th overall, and why not? He scored a ton of goals at Notre Dame (41, to be exact), and if he's good enough for Ireland's national team (even if it was for just one game), surely he's good enough for TFC.
But he'd put the word out before the draft that he had no interest in playing in MLS, which explains why such a dominant college player was still available at the 35th pick.
So instead of joining TFC he headed to Scotland, where a tryout with Aberdeen didn't work out. As far as I can tell he bounced from tryout to tryout until early April, when he signed with a second-division club in Norway.
Norwegian second division.
Guess he was serious about not playing in North America.
Toronto FC's stake in all this is diminishing by the day. Basically, they retain his MLS rights for 18 months from the day they draft him. If they can't sign him by then Toronto relinquishes his rights.
But they don't seem too interested in signing him.
-- Morgan Campbell