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Toronto FC’s Johnson, Laryea out for two to three weeks with hamstring strains

Toronto FC will be without goalkeeper Sean Johnson and fullback Richie Laryea for two to three more weeks due to hamstring strains.

Coach John Herdman says Laryea, who has missed the last two games, is expected to be out for three more weeks. Johnson, who was injured on the eve of Saturday’s home-opening 1-0 win over Charlotte FC, is expected to be sidelined for two more weeks.

The good news is forward Deandre Kerr, who has yet to play this season due to a calf injury, could be on the bench for Saturday’s visit to Yankee Stadium to face winless New York City FC (0-3-0).

Herdman said Johnson was “desperate” to play against NYCFC, the team he played for from 2016 to January 2023 when he signed with TFC as a free agent. Johnson played 206 matches with 60 clean sheets across all competitions for the New Yorkers.

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“It’s the game he wanted more than any,” Herdman said after training Thursday. “But he’s got to put the team first. It’s going to be a long season. He’s not getting any younger. We’ve just got to manage it.”

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The 34-year-old Johnson opened the season with back-to-back shutouts in a scoreless draw at FC Cincinnati and a 1-0 win at New England. Backup Luka Gavran started Saturday’s 1-0 win over Charlotte FC in TFC’s home opener.

Toronto has been one of the surprise teams in Major League Soccer so far this season, with two wins and a tie in its first three outings. TFC, which finished last in the league last season at 4-20-10, has yet to concede a goal.

It’s the first time in franchise history Toronto has opened the season with three shutouts. And it marks just the second time that the club has earned at least seven points from its first three matches (it collected nine in 2019).

Centre back Kevin Long, who left the Charlotte game at halftime due to “tightness,” worked out by himself in the portion of training open to the media Thursday.

“We’re just managing his load this week. Same with (midfielder) Deybi Flores, (who has) a little bit of tightness in his groin,” said Herdman. “We’re getting a little bit thinner. We’ve just got to wrap some bubble-wrap around these people and make sure they’re there for the weekend.”

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Captain Jonathan Osorio (Canada) and Flores (Honduras) are the only two TFC players called up by their national teams for upcoming international matches.

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