Do or die for Toronto FC

GARETH WHEELER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:33 AM ET

This week, Toronto is soccer.

In a busy seven-days, both sports and entertainment-wise in Hogtown, it's soccer that will be taking centre-stage, starting with Toronto FC tomorrow.

The Nutrilite Canadian Championship decider against the Montreal Impact is arguably the biggest match in Toronto franchise history.

TFC never has been a part of anything close to a must-win situation, and that's exactly what it's facing.

Anything short of a TFC victory and it will be Montreal who qualifies as the Canadian representative in the CONCACAF Champions League. And with Montreal potentially lining up 11-men behind the ball at all times, combined with TFC's struggles up front, a win is anything but a sure thing.

Quite frankly, TFC hasn't looked good since striker Danny Dichio was sidelined with a concussion.

It's been well-documented how thin TFC is up front and the lack of fire-power has a trickle-down effect throughout the squad. And as much as manager John Carver hates to hear "negativity" coming from the evil Toronto media, it's a realistic possibility that Canada's only MLS side will have to deal with the embarrassment of going down at the hands of a bottom-feeding United Soccer League squad.

If Carver thought the media has been overly negative about his squad in the past, he hasn't seen anything yet if they don't get a victory.

The big week of soccer continues Thursday with the MLS all-star game at BMO Field.

MLS' biggest stars will be on display, taking on West Ham United from the English Premiership.

The Hammers have brought virtually the same side that finished 10th in the Premier League last season, having made no summer signings thus far.

Players to look out for are defender Anton Ferdinand, brother of Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, and former England international striker Dean Ashton.

A talented goal-scorer and a player with good size, Ashton's fitness always has been an issue that has held him back.

Also, creative Welshman Craig Bellamy looks to have returned to form early in the pre-season and has the ability to create fits in the opposition's defence.

Oh, and for all the ladies out there, some guy named Beckham is making his Toronto debut for the MLS all-stars.

More importantly than West Ham, take some time this week to appreciate the MLS all-stars. Players like New England midfielder Shalrie Joseph and Chivas USA's young star Sacha Kljestan are a pleasure to watch.

In saying that, it's time for the MLS' current all-star format to be questioned.

The league is at a point where foreign exposure's still all-important, especially in terms of dispelling myths about the quality of MLS soccer among the players themselves. But the solution shouldn't be to bring in a foreign team.

This may have been the best solution in the past when the league was smaller. But the league's now big enough to have two distinct all-star teams. Wouldn't it be great to see an East vs. West match-up, or better yet, a Team USA vs. the World game?

OTHER MUSINGS

While we're on the subject of the all-star game, some TFC supporters are way off in their planned protest to vocalize their disappointment about the lack of TFC players on the squad.

Who else on Toronto deserves to play in the game? A case could be made for Greg Sutton, but even the big net-minder wasn't a sure-shot No. 1 goalkeeper at the beginning of the year, with Carver preferring Brian Edwards for a short time.

So the answer is nobody.

Although the team is markedly better than last season, it's still just an average team in the MLS and its position in the standings is reflective of this.

Isn't three Canadian players participating on the MLS team good enough?


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