Major League Soccer teams are still training during the international break, of course, and there is a one more body at Toronto practices these days.
Eric Hassli is back in business, or close to it, at BMO Field. The TFC striker, who came East in the summer in a trade with Vancouver, is closer to recovery from an ankle sprain and hopes to be ready by the time Paul Mariner’s team meets rival Montreal on Oct. 20.
Like most MLS teams, Toronto has just two matches remaining. That means Hassli (pictured, at left in red), on a DP contract, has 180 minutes max to prove his worth around Exhibition Place.
He and Dutchman Danny Koevermans, who is also hurt, would form a fairly formidable strike tandem next year in Toronto (although both are similar in style, so questions can fairly be asked there.) But it would also an expensive tandem, as Koevermans is also on DP money. Along with Torsten Frings, Mariner would be full up on DPs – and they need quality defensive help in the off-season. Badly.
So, TFC has to decide what to do with Hassli, who is 31 (and who is reportedly on the final months of his original two-year deal with MLS).
Injuries have limited the Frenchman’s time at BMO Field; this is the second time he’s been injured since the summer arrival. So, small as the sample may be, what he does over the next 180 minutes will probably speak loudly in Mariner’s choices going forward.