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TFC gets two more players on loan: Caldwell and Brockie

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Kevin Payne took over as Toronto FC’s general manager and president so close to the MLS SuperDraft and the start of the 2013 preseason, that he didn’t have much time to design a grand plan for the club.

So, he did what most execs in his position would do when inheriting a last-place club that was short on talent; he addressed a lot of areas of need with loans. He understood that, for now, the cracks needed Band-Aids. TFC’s new imports, Hogan Ephraim and John Bostock, are loan deals. The signing of Robert Earnshaw has worked out well for the Reds, as he scored goals in bunches at the beginning of the season. Darel Russell was brought in to add a veteran presence. But, truthfully, those thirtysomething players with a wealth of English football knowledge were, again, necessary to shore up a thin roster. And, while he has one “foundational” (his word) player in Argentine Designated Player Matias Laba, the truth is he hasn’t had the time to really build a solid base.

Steven Caldwell

Payne added another two on-loan players on Tuesday. One is the most obvious example of a Band-Aid fix. Steven Caldwell, a central defender who will be needed to help a backline that cracks under the pressure of trying to keep attackers at bay late in games, was brought in on loan from Birmingham City. Caldwell, who has 12 caps for Scotland and who has played for a number of English sides including Newcastle, Sunderland, Wigan and Leeds United, played 90 times for Birmingham over the last two seasons.

But his loan spell officially ends June 30.

“We’re pleased that Steven has agreed to join us on loan until July. He’s a proven defender with great experience,” said Payne in a release issued by the club. “We expect him to help shore up our defence.”

Also arriving is forward Jeremy Brockie. The New Zealander is on loan from the Wellington Phoenix, where he scored 16 times in A-League action last season. Brockie, as a New Zealander, is well-known to TFC coach Ryan Nelsen and, as the A-League doesn’t play when it’s summer in the northern hemisphere, it gives Brockie a chance to make an impression in another country.

“We’re excited to have Jeremy join us on loan. Ryan has played with him on the All Whites and speaks very highly of him,” said Payne. “He’ll provide another option in an attacking position and if he can continue his form from the last A-League season, we’ll be happy indeed.”

With TFC’s goalscoring being almost entirely dependent on Earnshaw, the club desperately needs options and can’t afford to wait for Danny Koevermans to be ready. And, as Koevermans is coming back from a torn knee, there’s no guarantee he’ll be the same player he was before he got hurt — when his goals-to-minutes-played ratio was among the best in MLS history. Yes, that’s a cruel way to look at a player who has done so well for the Reds in the past — but winning soccer games means you have to peel away every layer of sentimentality. Koevermans is still a thirtysomething player coming off a major knee problem, meaning Payne and Nelsen need options.

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