Toronto FC fell Saturday, again, but a sunny afternoon around BMO Field was hardly a total loss.
High-scoring Dutch striker Danny Koevermans made his first start since last July. Koevermans went down on July 14 last year against New England.
He made two appearances for TFC off the bench in June but got back into Ryan Nelsen’s starting 11 for Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
He nearly sprang Bobby Convey early in the match and generally didn’t look out of place against the hottest team in Major League Soccer, working hard on both sides of the ball. He was hardly at his best over 55 minutes (giving way to Luis Silva), but the knowledge and movement was evident, and that will count for a lot as this reconfigured team continues to look for its identity under Nelsen.
Koevermans’ return also represents great timing for the Reds, who are about to lose four important players – Doneil Henry, Jonathan Osorio, Ashtone Morgan and Kyle Bekker – for Canadian national team duty.
Robert Earnshaw was out with a calf injury. If TFC’s Welsh striker can get healthy, and if Nelsen can get just a little more from Convey, a few more goals could help mitigate some of the defensive gaps left from those Gold Cup departures.