Many Toronto FC fans were hoping that the club's second bye week of the season would be enough to help shake off the early season injury issues, but that does not seem to be the case. The team are back from their short break and are getting ready for FC Dallas but they doing so with a number of defenders still stuck on the sidelines.
It seems that Steven Caldwell is the furthest away from making his return to the playing field. Greg Vanney confirmed that he is making progress in his recovery but will have to go for another scan in the coming days before the timeline for his return is clear. It sounds like the veteran defender is still a couple of weeks away from being able to make his return to the starting lineup.
His partner at the start of the year, Damien Perquis, could be set to make his return to the lineup this weekend in Frisco. He may not be ready to start the match but with limited other options at the back Vanney may have little choice but to start him if he is anywhere near full fitness in time for Saturday.
Add in Mark Bloom who remains questionable with Vanney not offering a clear timeline on when he might be able to make his return and Clement Simonin who is dealing with knee issues that could keep him out for a few more weeks and the back four is looking very thin once again.
The suspension of Warren Creavalle only compounds the problem that Vanney will face when it comes time to select his starting lineup for the game against Dallas. The lack of options could mean that we see either Marky Delgado or Jackson getting a start at right back which could prove to be a bit of an adventure.
Ideally, Vanney will be able to start Justin Morrow and Nick Hagglund alongside a returning Perquis and Bloom but that will depend on the later two passing fitness tests later this week which is very much a question mark at this point in time.
The headaches don't end there for Vanney with his defenders though as he will be forced to decide what to do with Michael Bradley. The captain is currently with the United States men's national team and is expected to log heavy minutes on Wednesday night against Mexico which could make him a question mark to start on Saturday. The good news is that Bradley has proven that he can handle that kind of work load so if Vanney does decide to drop him right back in to the starting lineup once he joins the team from San Antonio it should not be an issue.
On the whole, the injury issues seem to be improving but they are certainly not behind the team just yet. The defensive depth will continue to be tested this weekend which could be a concern against a FC Dallas team that has plenty of attacking talent and will be looking to bounce back from an embarrassing defeat against Colorado.