If there was a single positive thing to come out of the 3-0 drubbing Toronto FC took at the hands of the Kansas City Wizards Wednesday, it was that they will get the chance to exact revenge tomorrow at BMO Field.
But if coach Mo Johnston's expansion Major League Soccer team really wants to make a good impression on the sold-out crowd for the home-opener in the shiny new stadium at Exhibition Place, it might set its sights a little lower -- like scoring a goal.
TFC ended three consecutive away games without a single marker on the scoreboard.
This after a pre-season where the team was drawing rave reviews for the roster that Johnston was able to cobble together.
Johnston had preached that TFC would be an attacking team, counting on a core of solid strikers to put the ball in the net, but after the first 30 minutes against the Wizards, Toronto was down 1-0 and being outshot 8-1.
CHANGE OF TUNE
Even though Johnston had proclaimed earlier in the week that this was the lineup he was sticking with, he had changed his tune in the aftermath of Wednesday's loss.
"Obviously we play the Wizards this weekend, and there are going to be changes," Johnston said in a post-game interview with MLSnet.com. "Hopefully the changes will be for the better of the team."
One of the changes will be a replacement for highly touted rookie midfielder Richard Asante, of North York, who asked for and received a release from the club.
Asante, a third-round pick in the 2007 Major League Soccer superdraft, was one of Johnston's favourites during the two-month pre-season training camp, so the parting of ways does raise questions.
Asante did not return calls from Sun Media yesterday to comment on the rift.
"Toronto FC announced Wednesday night that they have mutually agreed to let midfielder Richard Asante leave the team," a TFC statement released yesterday said.
"Toronto FC is sorry to see him go, and wish him all the best in his future endeavors."
Also placed on waivers yesterday was goalkeeper Tomer Chencinski, of Thornhill, who had yet to see any action behind starter Greg Sutton.
Johnston will have former English premier league player Danny Dichio in the lineup tomorrow after the 6-foot-3 striker was unable to accompany the team on the Kansas leg of the home-and-home series due to visa problems.
Johnston insisted it's still too early to label the team a failure.
"Well, we are building, and building slow," he said. "You are never out of anything only three games in."