Wednesday, July 22, 2009

'Hopefully, we can keep it going'

Toronto general manager Mo Johnston must have also been grinning from ear to ear after watching Gerba effectively link up with fellow forward Dwayne De Rosario and attacking midfielder Amado Guevara.

The deadly trio looked as though they have been playing together for years and, if Gerba can duplicate his stupendous national team form (he has 15 goals in 28 games for Canada) for Toronto FC, the first playoff berth in franchise history looks assured.

"I can read him and he can read me, so hopefully we can keep it going," Gerba said of his budding partnership up front with De Rosario.

As for whether he will be in the lineup for Toronto Saturday on the road against the Columbus Crew, Gerba thought he gave head coach Chris Cummins enough of a reason to start him against the defending MLS champions.

"I hope so. It's the decision of the coach. I just want to play and get more games [under my belt]" Gerba said.

Gerba wasn't the only Toronto player to make his debut Wednesday. Rookie O'Brian White, the fourth overall pick in January's MLS draft, also made his first appearance.

White has been recovering from a knee injury suffered last October and only returned to full training last month.

"I felt pretty good out there. It was first game in a very long time," said White, adding that he "never thought about the injury at all" during the game.

Johnston took a big gamble in using a first-round draft pick to select White, and the young forward looked far from the finished article against River, struggling to make a serious contribution to the Toronto attack.

But Johnston has publicly maintained that the former University of Connecticut standout has the potential to be a breakout star in MLS, and it would be unfair to write him off after one lacklustre performance.

"Obviously there's going to be a bit of rust there, but I think he's well on his way," explained assistant coach Nick Dasovic.

After a lengthy layoff, White said he was just happy to be playing soccer game and that he wasn't nervous at all about making his professional debut.

"It was a big game and I was really looking forward to it, so I wasn't really nervous," White said. "I was thinking more that finally all of the hard work is paying off."

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