Opponent watch: Things tough in Toronto
Things aren’t going too well in Toronto for its Major League Soccer team, and despite some changes in personnel, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for TFC’s troubles.
Toronto squanders lead vs NE
An MLS record-breaking streak in futility of nine straight losses to start the season ultimately led to the dismissal of head coach Aron Winter from his managerial duties, replaced by the director of player development, Englishman Paul Mariner.
Under Mariner, TFC has managed two draws in three games, but has squandered leads in both those matches, giving up points in the final minutes against Houston and New England.
And things aren't better off the pitch.
Early last week, three Reds’ players were arrested for public intoxication after becoming involved in a bar brawl in Houston before a scheduled matchup against the Dynamo a few days later. Charges were filed against Miguel Aceval, Luis Silva and Nick Soolsma, and all have not seen action in the two games since their arrests.
However, taking a team like Toronto lightly, with their backs against the wall would be a mistake.
“We have to focus on the task at hand,” said midfielder Justin Mapp. “They have dangerous players so if we are not ready, it will be a disappointing evening. Anyone can be beaten in this league, it doesn’t matter where you are in the standings, if you’re not ready to come out and play.”
Proof to that statement can be found in the 2012 Amway Canadian Championship, where the Impact was knocked out by Toronto in a 2-0 aggregate home and away series. TFC went on to eliminate the Vancouver Whitecaps in the final to become Canada’s representative in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament; the lone bright spot in an otherwise dismissal season.
With all this adversity, Toronto would love to rain down on the Impact’s parade as the team looks to debut Designated Player Marco Di Vaio. But Impact head coach Jesse Marsch has other plans in mind.
“I’ve already challenged this group to establish what our mentality is like in transitioning into this game from a big win,” said Marsch. “I expect us to be ready for an important game and to handle this game in the right way.”
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