Toronto FC won't take slumping Wizards lightly

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:09 PM ET

With a three week break looming it would be easy for a team not to show up.

But don’t expect Toronto FC to mail one in against the Kansas City Wizards Saturday afternoon at BMO Field.

After the weekend, Major League Soccer will shut down for the World Cup until the end of the month, so the match looms as an important one.

“The game on Saturday is so much bigger than just a regular season game,” said Toronto striker Chad Barrett after hoisting the Voyageurs Cup as Canadian champion Wednesday.

“A lot of people probably think they can take the day off, but they can’t.

Nor will the Reds take the slumping Wizards lightly. Ex-Wizards star and current TFC bench boss Preki will make sure of that.

Preki has labelled his former club as a “desperate team.” Captain Dwayne De Rosario - the reigning league player of the week - said: “Kansas City is very hungry and we have to match that intensity. We want to close out with a good result.”

Wizards coach Peter Vermes told MLS.com: “It’s my responsibility. Obviously there is something that’s not right. I’m going to figure it out and I’m going to figure it out quick.”

Kansas City was humiliated 4-1 by Real Salt Lake Sunday, has not won in seven matches and not at all on the road where it has been outscored 10-2.

To make things worse for the Wizards, captain Davy Arnaud is out after picking up a pair of yellow cards Sunday, midfielder Roger Espinoza has already left to join his Honduran mates and the team is also without two other midfielders. That will make it difficult to contain a Toronto offence that, surprisingly, is the East’s second-most-potent.

Kansas City still can throw out some dangerous players. Striker Kei Kamara has scored five times - tied for fifth-most in the league. The team has some good young talent, including Hamilton-born Teal Bunbury, the son of legendary Canadian international striker Alex Bunbury.

Bunbury was selected fourth overall in the 2010 MLS Superdraft, becoming the first son of a former MLS player to be drafted into the league.

While he has yet to make a huge effort, Bunbury led the NCAA with 17 goals last season.

The Reds come in healthy, though young Nane Joseph will be sidelined for a while due to a dislocated shoulder suffered Wednesday against Vancouver.

Barrett said the team cannot afford to drop a winnable game.

“It’s not just a streak, it’s everything that we’ve got going right now,” Barrett said.

“The confidence, the fact that we haven’t lost at home (and) haven’t really given up a lot of goals at home (one against in its past five home contests).

“We don’t want to leave with that sour taste in our mouths”


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