Wait your turn, Dwayne

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

The idea of local star Dwayne De Rosario having to earn his way on to the starting 11 of Toronto FC would've been unthinkable just two weeks ago.

But a lot has changed in a hurry, with his slight hamstring tear during the team's winless streak, coach John Carver's resignation and a new 4-3-3 alignment under new man Chris Cummins that fed a two-game winning streak and put TFC first in its MLS conference.

At Cummins' introductory news conference on Tuesday, the media didn't pay much heed to his comment that De Rosario would have to wait in line, chalking it up to his cheeky English humour.

"I'm very serious," Cummins said yesterday. "DeRo was the first one to congratulate me the other day on getting the job. But he knows he has to work his way back in. If he thinks he's just going to walk back into the team ... he knows that just doesn't happen."

That said, Cummins does see De Rosario playing some kind of role today against the Columbus Crew.

"Whether he starts or not, you'll have to wait for kickoff," Cummins said. "If someone is having an offday, there's enough ability to come on and cause teams some problems.

"I look at everything: Are (three strikers) Danny Dichio, Pablo Vitti and Chad Barrett okay? DeRo can play in any of those front four or five positions. He has more than enough ability to play on the left, the right, down the middle or just in behind where Amado Guevara plays (as an attacking midfielder).

"He's trained well and if he comes on strong that's another nice problem, but I want competition on the team. Just because he's an outstanding player, doesn't mean it's (automatic)."

De Rosario was given yesterday off for bereavement leave after a grandparent passed away.

Columbus, the 2008 MLS champions, haven't won a game yet (0-2-4) and Cummins hopes to keep it on the ropes with more early pressure today.

"They've been unlucky in a few of their games, but they're still a decent team," Cummins warned. "Their set pieces will be a key issue for us, so we need to eliminate those as much as possible. But we'll play the way we have, with freedom and lots and lots of attacking options."

Feud continues

There likely will be a few security briefings today with many Columbus fans among an expected 20,000-seat sellout and possible ripple effects of the bad blood in Ohio from the 2-2 tie in March.

But Toronto striker Dichio wouldn't like to see the energy forced out of this budding rivalry.

"We obviously saw our fans down there and from a personal point of view, they behaved exceedingly well within the grounds," Dichio said. "There was a lot of (verbal) battling going on, which I'd like to see more of, which is the English and European style.

"I didn't see everything going on outside the grounds, but I heard a few stories where the fans got a bad rap from the press and it has been a bit unfair. It's just because we go in large numbers and that's what you're going to have in large numbers in different grounds. The American police are not used to that wave of red coming into the grounds. A healthy banter is fine; that's all part of soccer.

"Everyone is a rival in our division (three points separated five teams before the weekend). I see (Columbus) as a bogey team that we haven't beaten yet. Hopefully, it's a good chance to get that first win for us."

Shut out hunger

TFC and Purolator are asking fans at today's game to bring canned goods or a cash donation to the Tackle Hunger food drive in support of the Daily Bread Food Bank. In return for donations, fans will get a chance to win TFC prizes. Purolator will also donate 250 pounds of food for every corner kick throughout the game.

LANCE.HORNBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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