Sutton ready for kick-off

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

Toronto FC goalkeeper Greg Sutton will turn 30 in less than two weeks and has been plying his trade mostly in anonymity for the past decade in such soccer outposts as Chicago, Cincinnati, Newark, N.J., and most recently Montreal.

Sutton also has three caps with Canada's national men's team.

But it is tonight's first Major League Soccer match for TFC that has the 6-foot-6 'keeper as excited as he ever has been since he first experienced the joy of stopping a corner kick.

"It's the first time in my professional career that I will be able to play for a team that is essentially in my hometown," Sutton told Sun Media after practice at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles in advance of TFC's game against Chivas USA tonight.

Well, close to Toronto. Sutton grew up in Hamilton.

"Look, I can climb to the top of the grandstand (at BMO Field) and look across the lake and almost see where I was born," Sutton said. "How great is that?

A first-team all-star in 2006 with Montreal Impact in the United Soccer League, Sutton easily could have kept playing at that level while commuting from his newest home in Danbury, Conn.

When he heard, however, that Mo Johnston was going to coach TFC, Sutton agreed to sign on.

"I am really impressed with the kind of talent that Mo has put together," Sutton said. "I mean, I think this may be the best expansion team ever put together in MLS."

Johnston says it's icing on the cake that Sutton also fills a spot mandated by MLS for Canadian players.

"He would be on the team regardless of being a Canadian," Johnston said. "It's a bonus that he is (Canadian), but I think he'll prove to be one of the top 'keepers in the league."

As for tonight's debut against Chivas, Sutton admitted to have some butterflies, but only the kind that nervous anticipation brings.

"Once the first ball is kicked in my direction it will be all business," Sutton said. "And I fully expect that we will win."

Meanwhile, TFC traded midfielder Jose Cancela to the Colorado Rapids yesterday in return for a first-round pick in 2008.

"It frees up a foreign spot, and room under the salary cap," Johnston said. "We're sorry to see him go -- but he wasn't settled in Toronto (and) we only want guys that want to be here."


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