Toronto FC defender Omar Gonzalez can make a tackle or a latte.
The veteran centre back is whipping up specialty coffees for his teammates while they are spending time at their pandemic home away from home in East Hartford, Conn.
"It's very nice of him," said midfielder Nick DeLeon. "The rumours are true. Yes, he's providing lattes for whoever wants them. And they are free of charge and they are very tasty.
"It's just a good little moment for guys to get together, just hang out a little bit," he added.
Gonzalez comes prepared. The 30-year-old Texan brought a hot plate to Orlando for the MLS is Back Tournament this summer after expressing concern about -- and tweeting photos of -- the in-room dining that possibly awaited him.
Gonzalez said he hasn't needed the hot plate this time.
"The food has been quite good here so I don't need to do any of the cooking," he said in a virtual meeting with reporters Friday. "But I'm making lattes so that's fun. After this interview, I'm going to fire it up and make the guys some lattes."
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler famously brought a coffee maker to the NBA playoff bubble in Orlando. But he charged for his Java.
Toronto's match Sunday against FC Cincinnati will see two former international defenders coaching their teams on the sidelines.
Toronto's Greg Vanney, won 36 caps for the U.S. while Cincinnati's Jaap Stam earned 67 for the Netherlands.
As player with Manchester United, the imposing Stam used to be celebrated with a famous fan chant: "Jip-Jaap Stam is a big Dutchman, get past him if you (expletive) can, try a little trick and he'll make you look a (expletive), Jip-Jaap, Jaap Stam."
Vanney said he had no signature chant, even from his time playing club soccer for SC Bastia in France.
"Definitely not ... Initially when I showed up, the question was did I play basketball or baseball or something, I must have taken the wrong plane to play football over in France," he said. "But no chants that I can recall. I guess I wasn't a big enough player for that kind of thing."
Toronto midfielder Nick DeLeon, who spent seven seasons with D.C. United, says it hurt hearing Ben Olsen was out as D.C. coach
D.C., which sits in the league basement at 2-9-5, announced Thursday that Olsen was stepping down but would likely have a new role in the organization. Olsen played for the team from 1998 to 2009 and had served as head coach since 2010.
DeLeon came to Toronto after the 2018 season following "seven incredible years" under Olsen.
"He's the guy who drafted me. He believed in me," DeLeon said.
"He couldn't be a better guy," he added. "He's an incredible individual, incredible human being. I was a little sad, a little sad that he lost his job. It's tough, though, you know. That job, head coaching position, is a job that is based on results. And when you're not getting results, things like this can happen.
"It was personal for me. I have so many unbelievable memories there and specifically tied to Ben. So I was sad to see him go. And I'll be interested to see the role he plays moving forward in that organization ... He's their fabric. He's been there 20 years. He really is a part of that culture, the environment. That's been him and that's not fake. It's 100 per cent real, he's 100 per cent authentic in that sense."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct 9, 2020
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press