TFC not overlooking Dynamo

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:06 PM ET

Toronto FC cannot possibly be looking past the Houston Dynamo.

Not after what happened last weekend.

Thinking a win was in the bag against last-place D.C. United at home -- leading to an embarrassing 1-0 defeat that resulted in the dismissal of its coach and general manager -- TFC surely will respect its opponents in Texas Saturday.

Though Houston is last in the West and gives up more goals per game than anybody in Major League Soccer, only one squad scores less per outing than Toronto, a team that has managed one goal in five games.

Something certainly will have to give in that regard.

The Dynamo will be well-rested, having had a week off, whereas the Reds got thrashed by Real Salt Lake in Utah Wednesday.

Fatigue cannot be used as an excuse though, not when this is basically a playoff game.

Interim head coach Nick Dasovic undoubtedly has stressed to his club that this is a match that simply cannot be dropped. Not with tough games against strong Columbus, San Jose and Seattle still to come. Toronto sits five points behind Seattle for the final playoff spot.

The other two remaining games are against lowly D.C. and Chivas USA.

Realistically, Toronto needs four wins in the six games -- five if it loses to Seattle -- to have a shot at the post-season.

With Preki and Mo Johnston now gone, the heat is squarely on the players -- the inmates who took over the asylum, so to speak, in getting the demanding Preki turfed after less than one full season.

It is time to show up. Captain Dwayne De Rosario, so brilliant for Houston earlier in his career and one of the top three players in the league for the first two months of this season has fallen completely off the map. Mista, the high-priced designated player has shown little finishing ability in Toronto and has had a terrible time adjusting to the North American game.

There is no doubt Mista has seen some poor officials here, but his yappy style does not earn him any favours with them and his boneheaded play Wednesday, getting a straight red for utter stupidity (a kick to RSL's Kyle Beckerman, who had been getting under his skin), put that match out of reach for his club.

The Spaniard still has much to prove.

The other designated player, Julian de Guzman, had the harshest words of all for Preki and played well Wednesday, but must continue to back up his tough talk.

In meaningful games -- from last week's epic failure, to the 5-0 trouncing to end last season in a win-and-you're-in game against New York -- this group's track record is suspect.

Houston provides the latest shot at redemption for the team.

The lineup is closer to full health than it has been in weeks with a full complement of strikers -- Mista, Chad Barrett, Maicon Santos and O'Brian White all seeing action against Real Salt Lake.

Houston is a poor club, one that can be punished. If Toronto is ever to find its missing scoring touch, it will happen Saturday.

If not, the season is over.

No pressure.


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