Chivas no bottom feeders

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:47 PM ET

Though Toronto FC head coach Preki claimed that Saturday’s match against his former club, Chivas USA is just another game, one gets the feeling deep down it means a whole lot more than that.

Maicon Santos, perhaps unable to muster as much of a diplomatic front as his coach simply refused to comment about playing against the team that dumped him unceremoniously last month.

“I’m not going to talk about this game. I will only talk about it when it is over,” said the Brazilian striker who has fit in nicely with the Reds after failing to produce with Chivas once Preki moved on.

Preki, of course, left Chivas “by mutual consent” last November, after twice leading the club to the playoffs and earning MLS coach of the year honours in 2007.

The rumblings at the time were that the team felt it had gone as far as it could under Preki.

He was named TFC head coach a week later.

But if there was any resentment towards Chivas, he did a good job hiding it.

“Look, I had a good time with Chivas USA and I left that club under good terms,” Preki said on Friday.

“I have no hard feelings. It doesn’t really matter who you play or what feelings you have, it’s just business and tomorrow we’ll approach the game like any other.”

Though Chivas sits at the bottom of the West, TFC knows its opponent is by no means a 98-pound weakling.

Chivas beat the powerhouse Columbus Crew at home last week and the squad has rallied from six consecutive losses and have just a single defeat in its last nine games — including a 2-0-2 run in MLS play.

“You can’t overlook (any) team in this league as we’ve learned in the past and continue to learn this year,” said TFC captain Dwayne De Rosario.

“If you look at it as a last-place team and take your foot off the pedal, you’re going to get a rude awakening. I don’t think that mentality is with us on this team.”

Toronto, undefeated at home with five wins and four draws, is on a high after advancing to the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League, but has turned what looked like home wins into draws due to shoddy play too often of late.

De Rosario is well aware that trend cannot continue since the team is in an extremely tight playoff race. TFC is tied for 8th in MLS and only eight teams make the postseason.

“Not only Chivas, but other teams are creeping up,” De Rosario said.

“We have to take advantage of home games, need to capitalize on those opportunities when they arise.”


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