Defoe: 'I'm totally committed to the cause'

[MLS SPOTLIGHT] When Jermain Defoelast played on Aug. 23, Toronto FC was tied for third place in the Eastern Conference, seemingly headed for the playoffs for the first time in eight years. After a chaotic month filled with speculation about his future with the club, Toronto has fallen to seventh place. Defoe, now back at training with Toronto after returning from England, where he had been nursing a  groin injury, says he's "totally committed to the cause." Whether that  means he'll be back in 2015 only time will tell.

Toronto FC on Aug. 23
EASTERN CONFERENCE
PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA

43 D.C. United 13-7-4 39/26
42 Sporting KC 12-7-6 36/26
33 Toronto FC 9-8-6 35/36
33 Columbus 8-8-9 35/32
31 New York 7-7-10 39/36
30 New England 9-12-3 31/36
27 Philadelphia 6-9-9 36/39

Toronto FC on Sept. 25
EASTERN CONFERENCE

PTS TEAM W-L-T GF/GA

48 D.C. United 14-9-6 45/34
45 Sporting KC 13-10-6 43/34
42 New England 13-13-3 41/40
41 New York 10-8-11 48/42
40 Columbus 10-9-10 41/36
38 Philadelphia 9-9-11 45/43
37 Toronto FC 10-11-7 39/43

The last five weeks have seen:

-- Tim Leiweke, the man who convinced Defoe to leave Tottenham for MLS, announce plans to leave.

-- Ryan Nelsen, the coach for Defoe's first season with Toronto, get fired and replaced by Greg Vanney.

-- Toronto turn down a record transfer offer for Defoe as the summer transfer window closed in England.

-- Leiweke suggest that Defoe won't come back -- and if he doesn't want to be with Toronto FC, it should get rid of him.

So what does Defoe have to say? He told Toronto reporters at a press conference it was normal for there to be transfer speculation.

"At the end of the day," he said, "I’m still a TFC player and I’m totally committed to the cause."

The length of the cause remains to be seen as he refused to definitively commit to the 2015 season.

“That’s out of my control," he said when asked if he'd return next season. "I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. All I can say to the fans is that I’m fully committed, and looking forward to getting back and looking forward to this playoff push."

That playoff push begins with a game against Portland on Saturday though Defoe isn't expected to be ready until Oct. 4 when Toronto plays at the LA Galaxy.

Toronto is three points behind fifth-place Columbus but with a game in hand on the six teams ahead of it in the Eastern Conference. A win in that extra game would catch the Crew and put Toronto ahead on the first tiebreaker (most wins).

Remaining Toronto FC Schedule:
Saturday, September 27 vs. Portland
Saturday, October 4 at LA Galaxy
Wednesday, October 8 vs. Houston
Saturday, October 11 at Toronto FC
Saturday, October 18 vs. Montreal
Saturday, October 25  at New England

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