Lynx hunt for support

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

David DiPlacido has played more games in a Toronto Lynx uniform than any other player but still wonders whether the club will ever garner more interest.

"It's a little disheartening when everyone is working hard (in practice) and you come to the games and there's not really the crowd you wish for," said DiPlacido, a Newmarket native. "Other teams throughout the league get more support. A few years back, we went pretty far into the playoffs and (the support) did not increase much."

There's not exactly a buzz in the air as the Lynx prepares for its home opener on Sunday, when the defending champion Montreal Impact visits Centennial Park Stadium in Etobicoke. And it's not because the Lynx stumbled on a six-game trip to begin the United Soccer League season, failing to secure one victory with a 0-4-2 record. DiPlacido, who has played 171 games for the Lynx since he was a rookie in 1998, said a new stadium could be part of the answer.

As the players practised and scrimmaged during media day yesterday at Centennial Park, assistant coach Lyndon Hooper lamented the lack of support the team receives.

"I say wait and see until this generation grows up," Hooper, the older brother of Canadian female soccer star Charmaine Hooper, said. "I think it will always be a tough sell in this part of the world."

Incidentally, both Di-Placido and Hooper figured a pro soccer league comprised only of Canadian teams, with a team in Toronto, would be a better option than a Toronto franchise in Major League Soccer.

Nonetheless, the players' biggest concern is what's happening on the pitch.

With the proper guidance under first-year coach Hubert Busby Jr., Hooper believes a playoff berth is attainable. The Lynx has not been in the post-season since 2000.

"You look at the record, you might think otherwise, but we expect good things," Hooper said. "I think as the (28-game) season comes to an end, we will be in the playoff picture."

With, DiPlacido hopes, some people behind them.

"I have seen progress as the years go on, but the team's results help," Di-Placido said.


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