In a move rarely seen in MLS circles, Toronto FC has asked Ali Gerba to leave the team's training camp in Charleston, South Carolina. The Canadian National Team forward will head back to Toronto.
“Ali’s performance this pre-season has not been up to our expectations,” said manager, director of soccer Mo Johnston in a statement released by Toronto FC on Tuesday morning. “We hold all our players to a high standard, and we think that the best thing for him is a few days away from the team. This will be addressed further when the team returns back to Toronto.”
Gerba, a 28-year-old Canadian National Team forward, was signed by Toronto FC on June 23, 2009. He scored on his MLS debut on July 25 and that would stand as his only goal of the season. The native of Cameroon started in just five games last year.
“He’s worked hard but his play was not up to scratch,” Johnston told the CBC on Monday night.
Toronto FC is in Charleston for the Carolina Challenge Cup. Gerba played in the club's first match last Saturday, starting and lasting the opening half of a 0-0 tie against third division club Charleston Battery (USL 2nd Division).
While Gerba continues his preseason in Toronto, the MLS club will train in South Carolina through March 21, following two more matches against D.C. United and Real Salt Lake.