TORONTO Toronto FC, already depleted by nine international call-ups for this weekend's World Cup qualifying qualifiers, has lost another player.
Head coach John Carver said after Tuesday's training at BMO Field that Canadian midfielder Tyler Hemming has asked for his release.
“So there's another man down,” Carver said. “I said to Tyler Hemming if you don't want to be here then there's no way I'm going to get on my hands and knees and beg you to stay. But you're not helping your teammates out. It's his request, he wants to go.”
Little-used Hemming, 23, has played in three Major League Soccer games for TFC this season.
It comes at a time when Toronto is having problems putting out a representative team for Saturday's MLS match against Chivas USA at BMO Field. Toronto had asked the league for a postponement but it was not granted.
“This is an extreme circumstance,” he said. “I'm baffled, I really am.”
Most leagues shut down for international dates such as World Cup qualifiers but MLS does not, citing scheduling problems that come from operating from late March until early November. Commissioner Don Garber said last week the league is continuing to study the challenges presented by scheduling, including MLS participation in tournaments.
In some leagues, teams are allowed to postpone games when they have lost a predetermined number of players to international matches. But so far in MLS the policy is to play on.
“This wouldn't happen in any other league anywhere else in the world,” Carver said. “I beg your pardon, it might happen on a Sunday morning in a pub league in England. Because you have to play no matter how many players you have and I've played in those games before and I know all about that. But professionally, I've never seen anything like it.”
Carver said the league's policy left him speechless. Well not quite. He did feel for the fans who face the prospect of a team that might have one or two substitutes on the bench when the game starts. He apologized to the fans and hoped that they would still support the team on Saturday.
As for the fans, Carver said: “First of all I have to give them an apology because they don't deserve it (a depleted team), they've paid their honest, good money, they've been fantastic, they've stood by us. This is a circumstance where if I was a fan I'd be disappointed.”
As it stands now, the starting lineup includes forward Danny Dichio as a starter. He trained yesterday but has hardly played since July 1 when he suffered a concussion.
Forward Chad Barrett has been having leg cramps late in games and being substituted and midfielder Kevin Harmse has knee problems.
“It's like trying to do something with your hands behind you back, blindfolded, and your legs chained,” Carver said. “How do you do it? When I came here I never expected anything like this. I've had some challenges in my life but I've never seen anything like this.”
TFC lost 2-1 to Chivas USA last Saturday in Carson, Calif. Chivas loses two players this weekend to international duty – defender Shavar Thomas who will play for Jamaica and midfielder Sacha Kljestan who will play for the United States.
Chivas also played CONCACAF Champions League game last week in Panama, losing 2-0 to Tauro. The return match is Tuesday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson.
Toronto's international call-ups: defender Jim Brennan and goalkeeper Greg Sutton (Canada), defender Marvell Wynne (United States) midfielder Amado Guevara (Honduras), forward Carlos Ruiz (Guatemala), midfielder Carl Robinson (Wales), midfielder Jarrod Smith (New Zealand), defender Tyrone Marshall (Jamaica), and defender Julius James (Trinidad and Tobago)
Canada plays Honduras Saturday in Montreal.