Johnston is seeing red

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:01 AM ET

Coach Mo Johnston is hoping for two wins by red-clad soccer teams this weekend.

He wants his Toronto FC to make it two consecutive road wins tonight against the Chicago Fire and then tomorrow, for Canada and its TFC players to get a morale-building win over Congo at the Under-20 World Cup in Edmonton.

Johnston has been getting sporadic reports about Canada's U-20 progress during TFC's five-game road trip, but doesn't like to hear FC striker Andrea Lombardo, midfielder Gabe Gala and the Canadian youngsters being written off.

"People are stabbing them when they should be standing behind them," Johnston said yesterday from Chicago.

TFC, meanwhile, is banged up from the first three games of the trip -- a loss, draw and win -- with the fitness of up to five players causing Johnston concern. He has lost goalkeeper Sam Reynolds for up to six weeks with a right-leg injury, while Greg Sutton recovers from a concussion. Srdjan Djekanovic goes back in net tonight in Richview, Ill.

Striker Jeff Cunningham had to take himself out of Wednesday's 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake near the end, but defender Marvell Wynne is back from the Copa America tournament and Collin Samuel had the desired effect in his first game, drawing a penalty kick for the winning goal.

"It's a tremendous boost," Johnston said of the team's first road win. "It's a long time to be on the road and not enjoy a win."

Toronto (5-7-2) should be the favourite tonight against last-place conference rival Chicago, as the Fire has lost seven of the past 10.

"When you start thinking that way, normally, the opposite happens," Johnston warned. "They'll be out to impress their coach and show him (they have life)."


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