TFC gets an injection

STEVEN SANDOR, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

River Plate has a proud history, but the club is just a shadow of what it used to be.

So, tonight's friendly against the Argentine side offers TFC the perfect time to bring two new strikers into the fold.

Coach Chris Cummins has two massive games following the River friendly. TFC visits its most-heated rival, the Columbus Crew, on Saturday, then is home next Wednesday for the first half of its CONCACAF Champions League qualifier against the Puerto Rico Islanders -- maybe the most important fixture TFC has played so far in its short history.

So, tonight is the night to experiment. Cummins promised that Ali Gerba -- back from Gold Cup duty with Canada -- will make his TFC debut. And Toronto native O'Brian White has rehabbed his knee to the point where he's ready to play 45 minutes.

Cummins, despite telling the media he wanted Gerba and Canada to have a long run in the Gold Cup, has to be delighted that the man who is challenging Dale Mitchell's Canadian goal-scoring mark is in the TFC camp.

White will get time to show why TFC rated him to be worth a first-round gamble, despite the fact he was recovering from an ACL tear.

Cummins has been itching to use the NCAA's most valuable player of 2008 . He thought about using him in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Houston, but realized the friendly was the time to put him in front of the BMO faithful for the first time.

"If I would have put him in, it would have been for the wrong reasons," Cummins said.

In the Argentine Clausura that just closed, River Plate finished in eighth, six places ahead of rival Boca Juniors. And that was a dramatic improvement over the previous campaign in the Argentine Apertura (the Argentines play two seasons over the space of a calendar year, Apertura and Clausura), River finished dead last.

Get your tickets

Toronto FC announced today that more bench seating will be added at BMO Field in time for next Wednesday's key CONCACAF Champions' League qualifier against the Puerto Rico Islanders.

The seats will also be available for the Aug. 7 visit of Kaka, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and their Real Madrid mates.

Tickets will go on sale through Ticketmaster today at 10 a.m.. Tickets will not be available at the BMO box office on the first day of sales.

The winner of the Puerto Rico-TFC home-and-home series will earn a spot in the Champions League group stage. Puerto Rico reached the semis last season.


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