TFC looks to rebound

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:07 AM ET

TORONTO - Toronto FC is almost assured of another trip to the final of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship but won't be taking anything for granted against FC Edmonton on Wednesday.

Last week, TFC handled Edmonton in about as unimpressive a 3-0 victory one can find.

Despite being an expansion club from a lower league, Edmonton was better than TFC for large swaths of that contest, even when the Albertans were knocked down to 10 men thanks to a red card.

Head coach Aron Winter said he was not pleased following that victory and his club responded by turning in one of the worst performances in team history in a 3-0 loss in Seattle on Saturday night.

Dan Gargan told torontofc.ca that he agreed the Seattle game was one of the worst the Reds have ever played.

"No one wants to get beat like that," Gargan said. "It's embarrassing. The players feel like (expletive) about it."

Winter said his team was "afraid to get the ball," implying that there was no inclination by the Reds to play a possession game. Instead, the ball was constantly booted away back to the opposition.

Youngsters Oscar Cordon and Joao Plata, who were two of the best Reds in the first Edmonton contest along with defender Richard Eckersley, were rested against Seattle and should be reinserted for this return match which likely will set up a matchup with the Vancouver Whitecaps -- who beat the Montreal Impact 1-0 in Montreal last week -- for the Canadian championship.

Toronto has won the competition the past two years and will advance to this year's final as long as it doesn't lose by greater than a three-goal margin.

It will be interesting to see what other changes Winter makes to his lineup. Captain Maicon Santos scored twice against Edmonton even though he looked to be playing at less than full capacity, but was pulled from the Seattle clash by Winter.

Santos will need to be better. Aside from scoring three times against short-handed Edmonton, TFC has only managed to hit the back of the goal three times in six games since the departure of former captain Dwayne De Rosario.

With a tough stretch of league games on the horizon, the offence must pick up considerably.

The defence was also poor against Seattle and to make matters worse, Dan Gargan and fellow defender Nana Attakora left training early on Tuesday because they were feeling under the weather and their status for Wednesday is uncertain.


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