Toronto FC coach John Carver figures the only way his side is going to have success in the gruelling week ahead is by having everyone pull in the same direction.
And to get that message across, the coach sat his players down prior to yesterday's practice at BMO Field and screened the Premier League game between Manchester City and Fulham from last Sunday, a 3-1 Fulham victory.
"I showed them how Man City have all the flair and big-priced players and Fulham have the blue-collar players who work hard," Carver said.
"And it shows you can get results by working hard, working for each other and working for the team.
"That's what I stressed to my guys (yesterday) morning. We've got to go out there (tomorrow) night and work for the team and let the natural ability that some of our flair players have take its course."
Toronto FC takes its 1-1-2 record into 0-3-1 Dallas for a game tomorrow before returning home on Wednesday at BMO Field, when it plays host to Chivas USA (3-0-1), and then plays host to the Kansas City Wizards (2-2-0) back home on April 26. That's three games in a week.
The good news is that Carver expects Canadian midfielder Dwayne De Rosario to be in the lineup against Dallas. The Scarborough native practised yesterday for the first time this week after hurting his hamstring in last Saturday's 1-1 draw against Dallas FC, the game in which the Canadian team international scored his first goal of the season. De Rosario declared himself fit yesterday, but admitted that practising on the hard FieldTurf at BMO Field is not easy when you're attempting to overcome an injury, as compared to grass, which is much more giving.
"You can feel every step, it doesn't give," De Rosario said of the FieldTurf. "It's just a constant pounding and pounding and pounding. If you look here, it's concrete," he said, while talking to reporters on the infield.
"If you look there, it's turf," he added, suggesting that there's not much difference.
Tom Anselmi, MLSE executive VP and COO, reiterated yesterday that the organization is pushing ahead to come up with a firm plan to have a practice facility built for the Reds, which will have real grass. As far as BMO Field is concerned, the stadium is owned by the City of Toronto, so putting in grass would take intense negotiations and probably a lot of money changing hands and it's likely that a practice facility will be built (likely within two years) before BMO Field is changed from turf to grass.
In any event, grass or FieldTurf, Carver did express some concern that his strikers Danny Dichio, Pablo Vitti or Chad Barrett have yet to score, but wasn't about to push the panic button.
"The greater confidence going into the (Dallas) game is we've got four points (already) on the road," Carver said. "(But) listen, I've got faith in my forwards. Everybody's having a little bit of a pop at them at the moment. These guys are under a little bit of pressure and sometimes when you're under extra pressure, it's tough. They just need a little stroke of luck in front of the goal. I'm confident in them."
Carver said forward O'Brian White, FC's first-round draft pick this year, is ahead of schedule in terms of coming back from a knee injury, suffered at UConn last season.
"He's now started twisting and turning. Up until about two weeks ago, it was all straight line running. He's now he's changing direction, which is a good sign," Carver said. "You're not far away when you start twisting and turning. He's ahead of schedule."
White could be back as early as late May or June.