TFC needs four goals

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

Toronto FC talks boldly of putting four on the floor tomorrow night when it drives to Montreal for a showdown with the Impact in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship.

But winning by four goals is a tall order for a team that has only scored that many once in its three-year history, back on Father's Day 2007 against Dallas. But after being written off in this tournament since a 2-0 loss in Vancouver June 2 put them in this awful goal differential hole, TFC is relishing its underdog role.

"Everyone I've spoken to and heard from have said we can't do it," midfielder Carl Robinson said. "I like to prove people wrong. We'll go into the game with that mentality and anything we get will be a bonus."

Coach Chris Cummins' first instinct might be to send the whole team charging at the Impact goal in helter skelter fashion, but he assures there'll be an organized plan.

"We've managed it once in franchise history, so it's do-able," Cummins said. "If we split the game into four quarters, we can score once every 22 minutes. We don't have to go gung ho, blow the doors and attack, attack. We're not going to panic if we don't score in the first 15 or 20 minutes."

Toronto beat both Montreal and the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 at BMO Field, but failure to pile on the goals when they had the chance leaves the club in danger of missing the CONCACAF Champions League a second straight year and giving the berth to one of the two lower-rung United Soccer League entries.

"It's like dangling a carrot in front of us, if we want to advance, we have to get the four," striker Danny Dichio said. "People say we have to score in the first 10 minutes, but we need to get something in the first half to put them on their back foot.

"The way our team is playing, we've had a lot of chances, but we have to bury them. Of course, you can't go up the field with eight and just leave three guys back. We have to be aware of the counter-attack.

"I've been in games down four nil at halftime and come back. So anything can happen. That's why they call this the beautiful game."

Cummins didn't work the team too hard yesterday and ditto for today as he anticipates running them hard 90 minutes in Montreal.

"We've looked at a lot of formations," he said. "You'll probably see as many strikers as you ever have. We went 3-4-3 on the weekend (an MLS win over New York), we can plan a 4-4-3 with attacking options and we might go 3-5-2. Or we might go with just two at the back if we need the goals later on in the game.

"It's like a Cup final for (the Impact), they're not going to take it lightly. But we'll leave everything on the pitch. We'll be getting this weekend off (from regular MLS action), so I'll be asking an extra 1% from everyone."

TFC close to Gerba

Toronto FC general manager Mo Johnston indicated yesterday he was very close to signing Ali Gerba, a Canadian forward whose rights were obtained in last week's Nick Garcia trade ... Defender Jim Brennan (ankle) should play tomorrow ... Forward and first-round pick O'Brian White, out all year with an ACL injury, has begun light practice with the team.


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