The pressure’s on for TFC

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:56 AM ET

The game that Toronto FC didn't want is now one they must win.

Tonight's 8 p.m. game against the New York Red Bulls suddenly appeared on the MLS schedule late last month, moved up from Aug. 9 to avoid conflict with the friendly against Real Madrid two days earlier.

But TFC needed to catch its breath from three straight losses and many personnel changes, as well as be fresh for next week's game in the Nutrilite Canadian championship in Montreal, needing to go all out for a four-goal win against the Impact or be eliminated.

"I'm not one to moan and blame things, so we have to get on with it," coach Chris Cummins said.

"We're paid to be fit and professionals.

"Obviously, it's a game we could've done without and had the weekend off. But if you go and get six points from the next two games then it was the right thing to do."

The roster and the alignment are in flux. New defender Nick Garcia will have had just two practices amid talk of going to a 3-5-2 system to exploit his experience as a central defender.

Missing at the back this week are the injured Jim Brennan and the absent Marvell Wynne, but Nana Attakora is healthy and likely will join Garcia and Adrian Serioux.

Up front, struggling striker Chad Barrett and midfielder Paulo Vitti will welcome back top scorer Amado Guevara after his stint with the Honduran national team. The tandem of Barrett and Danny Dichio had more success when Guevara joins their attack.

Another possible advantage for TFC (4-5-4) is that the Red Bulls have had it worse, (2-9-3) with almost no offence on the road.

"We have to take the game to them and be a lot more solid at the back,'' Cummins said.

Stars come out

TFC officials doubt that Real Madrid will be hiding Cristiano Ronaldo or anyone else when it visits Toronto.

"Madrid is coming here to showcase their new 'Galactico' team," said Paul Beirne, TFC's director of business operations.

"All the summer transfers will play for that reason. The contract specifies a minimum of 45 minutes."

Ronaldo's transfer from Man United was worth a record $145.2 million.

LANCE.HORNBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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