Guevara Controversy

Honduran international Amado Guevara said yesterday that he has a long-term contract to play for Toronto FC, and that he could join the team tomorrow.

But the one-time league rookie of the year may be bringing more to the table than just his ability to score from the right side.

Guevara is serving a 30-day suspension from Motagua of the Central American Football League after an altercation with Mario Moncada, the league’s top referee.

And it’s not the first time the 31-year-old right side midfielder has been in trouble with soccer authorities.

During his first stint in MLS — after being traded from New York Red Bulls to Chivas USA in 2005 — Guevara was also punished for pushing an assistant referee there.

It was shortly after that he told Chivas coach Predrag Radosavljevic (Preki) that he was done with the team and was moving back to Honduras.

“I have a vision of where the club is going and [I’m] not part of it,” he told Preki.

At that point Guevara became something of a pariah in the MLS with several attempts by Chivas to trade him falling through.

Now, however, TFC director of soccer Mo Johnston seems convinced he can get Guevara back to the form that made him MVP material in the 2003 season with New York.

While TFC offficials would not talk about the his status yesterday, Guevara had no such reticience when he told the Honduran newspaper La Tribuna he has a four-year deal with Toronto.

“I don’t know if in four years when my contract with Toronto expires if I will still want to play,” Guevara told the paper.

Guevara’s recent play with Motagua — other than his referee bashing — has been stellar, according to sources in the league.

He led Motagua to the Central American club championship last season, when Montagua beat Costa Rican giant Saprissa 2-1 on aggregate.

It’s his temper, however, that keeps getting him in trouble on the pitch.

In the most recent incident, Guevara lashed out at his homeland’s soccer bosses, alleging he was being “persecuted” and that’s the reason he signed with TFC.

“I am going because I fear that I do not want to continue (shortening) my career by playing here,” he said. “What happened (suspension) was unbearable.”

For all his faults, however, Guevara still has many fans who marvel at his skills when he is on top of his game.

ESPN soccer columnist Ives Galarcep is one, and he said that Guevara could help TFC with its goal scoring production.

“I will readily admit to being one of Guevara’s harshest critics when he had his lapses, but there has never been any doubt about his ability to be an impact player when he is on his game,” he said. “Considering Toronto won’t give up anything to acquire Guevara and will likely land him for a salary in the $250K to $300K range, it is a gamble worth taking considering the team’s need for a playmaker.”

It would also give TFC a balanced attack with its recent acquisition of Laurent Robert on the other side of the pitch and last season’s rookie of the year Maurice Edu in the centre.

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