MLS GAME PREVIEWS

Wizards versus Toronto preview

April 25, 2009

John Carver raised eyebrows during Toronto FC's last game when the coach handed over his duties to an assistant and sat in a private box. A few days later, it was announced he won't be on the sidelines for any of the team's remaining games.

Following the resignation of its coach, Toronto will try to move on Sunday when it hosts the Kansas City Wizards.

Toronto (2-2-2) announced Saturday that Carver had resigned, citing personal reasons after leading the team to a respectable start. Assistants Chris Cummins and Nick Dasovic will handle duties on Sunday until a successor is named next week.

Carver was the second coach in franchise history. He had been hired on Feb. 1, 2008, to take over for Mo Johnston, the current manager and director of soccer for Toronto after serving as coach during the team's inaugural season. Under Carver in 2008, Toronto went 9-13-8 and finished in last place in the Eastern Conference.

"I have worked with some top international players in my time, and we've got some here in Toronto, but this group is the best bunch of guys I've ever worked with," Carver said in a statement released by the team Saturday.

Carver may have hinted at what was about to take place when he chose to watch Wednesday's 1-0 win over Chivas from a booth in the media box area above the stands. This came just days after he was fined $750 by the league for criticizing the officiating in an earlier game.

"We would sincerely like to thank John for his work with Toronto FC during his time here," Johnston said. "We appreciate all his hard work in helping this team become more competitive, and we wish him all the best."

Cummins, who had talked about the team's upcoming matchup with the media on Friday, ran things on the sidelines against Chivas.

"It's a different experience for me, but it's great being down there," Cummins said after the last game. "I love being down there."

Toronto's win over Chivas snapped a four-game winless streak and came without star midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, whose torn hamstring will keep him out at least another two games. Forward Danny Dichio made his first start of the year after being sidelined with a groin injury. He had a team-high five goals in 2008.

Toronto opened the season with a 3-2 win over the Wizards (3-2-1) behind two goals from midfielder Amado Guevara, who also scored the team's only goal Wednesday.

Kansas City would lose its next game as well but has since bounced back with a four-match unbeaten streak.

In a 1-0 win over New York on Thursday, Claudio Lopez scored on a penalty kick in the third minute and Kevin Hartman made two saves for his third shutout of the season.

"You always have to be ready for something like this," Lopez said. "It's an opportunity you can't miss. It's good that it happened to us so early."

Hartman, who was honored before the game for becoming the MLS career saves leader, has allowed two goals in the last four games after giving up five in the first two.

"We didn't give up a ton of shots," Hartman said. "We were pretty secure in the back, and I think that's a step in the right direction."

Hartman may have a tougher task Sunday, however, as starting defender Jack Jewsbury is doubtful after he was briefly hospitalized Thursday with a slight concussion.

The Wizards are 3-2-2 in Toronto. The clubs played to a scoreless draw in June in the most recent meeting at BMO Field.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press