Soon-to-be Toronto FC forward Jermain Defoe has seen his career with Tottenham Hotspur come to a premature end, with an injury causing the impound Designated Player to be ruled out of Thursday’s Europa League match against Ukraine’s Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. With the Reds’ season debut just over two weeks away, the concern now shifts to whether Defoe will be able to suit up for Ryan Nelsen’s side when they open the 2014 season in Seattle.
Thursday was supposed to be Defoe’s Spurs farewell, but according to Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood, a hamstring injury will prevent the 31-year-old striker from playing a final game at White Hart Lane. Instead, the England international who began his second spell with the club in 2009 will say goodbye to fans at halftime, leaving North London having scored 144 goals for his club.
MLS’s website reached out to Toronto to try to find out more about the injury, but right now, little is known about the extent of the problem. Given the age of the player, the miles on his legs, and the surface at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field (FieldTurf), how likely are we to see one of Toronto’s two big signings in its season opener?
Nobody knows. And nobody will know until Defoe’s in Toronto and can be checked out by the Reds’ trainers. But take a look at the calendar, factor in some travel and the time needed to get work with his new team, and Defoe’s going to be cutting it close. Unless his absence from Thursday’s Europa League game is purely precautionary, his availability for the Seattle game seems reasonably in doubt.
Michael Bradley will still be there, and the meeting between him and fellow United States international Clint Dempsey will still happen. But that expensive Toronto team we’re eager to see in action? It may be missing a piece come Mar. 15.