Is D.C.'s mind on game?

DEAN MCNULTY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:08 AM ET

Toronto FC manager Mo Johnston is hoping that D.C. United will be looking past his club when they clash tonight at Washington's Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.

Johnston also figures that with United playing its third game in eight days, TFC could steal three points.

The United players, after being beaten 2-0 by Mexican first-division Pachuca CF in a CONCACAF Champions Cup game Tuesday, may have the rematch next Wednesday, on their minds, Johnston said.

"There is a lot of pressure on D.C. to advance in the Champions Cup," Johnston said. "So it's possible (coach) Tom Soehn may want to rest a couple of his starters to be fresh for Pachuca next week."

As well, some United overconfidence might be a factor. It has a 3-0 record against TFC in Major League Soccer play.

Johnston figures newcomer Laurent Robert will give his team an offensive weapon that it didn't have in those three previous meetings.

"I think the addition this week of Laurent will make a big difference," he said. "I really like what I am seeing on the pitch in practice."

Robert, a 13-year pro who has played with several top teams overseas, including Newcastle United, Benfica and most recently Derby County, is looking forward to his first game with the Reds.

"I saw that we lost 2-0 last week on the road in Columbus," he said. "Perhaps I can make (today's) game a win."

The left side midfielder, with just two practices with TFC, may not start but certainly will see some minutes.

D.C., which lost its season opener 2-0 to Kansas City, and TFC are the only Eastern Conference teams to come away without a point in their first outings.

First-round draft pick Julius James, meanwhile, is still a game away from recovering from a dislocated shoulder suffered in a pre-season game.


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