Scars still fresh for TFC

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:27 AM ET

Adrian Serioux is serious when he says he has yet to see the video evidence of Toronto FC's most recent game against the Houston Dynamo.

When a team gets spanked 3-0 and yields all three goals in the blink of an eye, Serioux feels no need to review the carnage.

The scars, afterall, from Toronto's May 30 visit to Texas are so fresh that the defender doesn't require any reminders.

"I have this mental memory,'' Serioux began yesterday following Toronto's spirited session at BMO Field. "I remember what certain players did at certain moments and now you try to turn it around in your favour."

The Reds will play host to the league-leading Dynamo, which isn't exactly red-hot as it pays its first and only visit to Toronto tomorrow.

Houston has long been regarded as the measuring stick in MLS, but injuries, international commitments and a hectic road schedule have conspired to take some of the shine off its image.

The team still poses problems and Houston is a formidable side because, no matter who lines up where, it has built its success on a system created by head coach Dominic Kinnear.

Serioux witnessed first hand Dynamo's dynamic abilities when host Houston scored three first-half goals in a five-minute span.

"We're a lot more in tune with each other now than we were the last time we played Houston,'' the defender said.

"There were many lessons learned from that game. There was one free kick where we formed a wall and we all jumped together.

"We should have stood on our tip toes because it cost us a goal."

Cohesion, consistency and commitment, Houston's hallmarks under Kinnear's watch, are slowly starting to surface with TFC.

"I can kind of say that it's coming for us,'' Serioux said. "It hasn't been an overnight success. We certainly have enough talent.

"What I remember from Houston was how each player had their role down pat. Each player knew what to do. There wasn't much thinking.

"And that only happens over time, when you have the same group of players who make up your team's core."

Toronto, which has won three of its past four games, sits tied atop the East with Chicago.

Houston leads the West and is first overall in MLS, but has won only once of its past four outings.

When TFC head coach Chris Cummins gathered for the media yesterday, he bristled, justifiably, at the suggestion that his team has feasted recently on some of the league's lightweights.

Regardless of the form of TFC's foes, the Reds are feeling good about themselves and Cummins is solely focused on strengthening his team's position and not worrying about the merits of the opposition.

"We're on top now and it's important to stay there,'' he said.

Dwayne De Rosario will be playing his former Houston team for the second time, hoping for a more favourable result this time.

"It's a chance for a little payback,'' De Rosario said. "For me, it was very disappointing losing 3-0."

In TFC's 3-1 road win against San Jose this past weekend, Cummins asked De Rosario to line up on the right side, a foreign spot for the attacking midfielder.

The strategy worked and De Rosario isn't about to complain. "It's not ideal for me,'' he said. "I spoke to Chris about it. As long as we're having success, we'll continue with it."

FRANK.ZICARELLI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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