Big effort, big payoff for TFC

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:29 AM ET

With one of the most impressive wins in team history now a fading memory, it’s time to see what Toronto FC is made of.

A big effort by the team in Montreal on Wednesday could pay big dividends down the line and go a long way toward revealing whether this franchise is finally for real.

A second victory in succession by Toronto over the Impact would give the team a commanding advantage in the 2010 Nutrilite Canadian Championship standings and likely allow what should by then be a dog-tired squad a chance to rest some regulars against the Vancouver Whitecaps next Wednesday.

A loss would send the Reds reeling into a match Saturday against the MLS-leading Galaxy in Los Angeles and force it to go all out in Vancouver four days later.

That’s certainly how TFC captain Dwayne De Rosario sees the Montreal matchup.

“A win in Montreal is going to be very important, especially with the long road we have ahead of ourselves,” De Rosario said after training in Oakville yesterday.

“Nutrilite is an important tournament for us. (The Impact) know that we won the championship last year in Montreal so (there is) going to definitely be a little more bite in their game because they want to show their fans they’re the better team and we want to prove them wrong.”

Striker Chad Barrett said the team wants to put to rest questions about its road form (TFC is 3-0-0 at home, 0-4-0 away from BMO Field). According to Barrett, Toronto’s convincing win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday has given the team confidence to win not only in Montreal, but in Los Angeles against the 7-0-1 league-leaders.

“This is the first time we’ve had a real comfortable win since I’ve been here,” Barrett said. “It’s just a different feeling. Much more relaxed, much happier … I can already see the team’s confidence is high, everybody is counting on each other, owning up and everybody is filling in for each other.”

Barrett’s chemistry with fellow striker O’Brian White has been a key to Toronto’s offensive success.

White, who missed training camp and then the bulk of his first MLS season last year, has paired superbly with Barrett. White had a goal and assist in 45 stellar minutes against Chicago and Barrett scored twice against his former team.

“This is kind of his rookie year,” Barrett said of White. “(White) takes everything you say and absorbs it. Everyone is seeing the true player he is. Last year wasn’t a fair trial for him.”

Interestingly, Barrett, who had all kinds of problems finishing chances last season, says he is not due goals, but rather “owes” them.

“I feel like from all that moaning and complaining I did last year (about BMO’s Field Turf), now that we have the grass, I think I owe some goals,” Barrett said. “I still owe a lot of goals and still have a lot of goals to give.”

Barrett will get a chance to do that Wednesday in a game De Rosario says might come down to playing hard and smart, not stupidly.

The Impact’s players seem to be taking the club’s name too literally.

Striker Roberto Brown is still suspended after being booted from the previous game against TFC for punching Nick Garcia in the face, teammate Reda Agourram is out after going after Vancouver defender Chris Williams last week in a 1-1 draw. Adam Braz will also sit after picking up a pair of yellow cards.

“Keep your head, composure wins those games,” De Rosario said.


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