Reds ready or not for Revolution

Toronto FC will be relying on Alan Gordon again to spark their offence against the New England...

Toronto FC will be relying on Alan Gordon again to spark their offence against the New England Revolution Wednesday night. (MIKE PEAKE/QMI Agency)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:28 PM ET

TORONTO - Winning on the road has been an impossible chore for the vast majority of Toronto FCís existence, but the teamís first away victory of the season is a legitimate possibility on Wednesday night.

The opposing New England Revolution is one of just two teams in the East with fewer points than the Reds and the Revolution has mustered just 11 goals all season, by far the worst total in Major League Soccer.

Almost as rare as an away win has been two consecutive strong performances by Toronto in any of its five season history, but New England has lost four games in a row and the Reds surely will come in confident after rallying for a stunning 2-2 tie against the league-best Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night.

On the other hand, Toronto is beset by injuries and has never won in Foxborough, Mass., earning just a single point in five all-time matches there while being outscored 14-3 including a 4-1 pounding last season.

Just how debilitating will those injuries be? Well, Jacob Peterson didnít travel with the team after getting hurt again on Saturday. Fellow midfielder Tony Tchani is questionable after getting savaged by Galaxy star David Beckham and defender Nana Attakora still isnít healthy enough to play either.

If Tchani canít go, Torontoís midfield will be a mess, since Julian de Guzman is away with the Canadian national team. Nathan Sturgis has performed well in de Guzmanís absence, but Tchani and Peterson have been two of the teamís top performers so far this season and the patchwork midfield will have to contend with New Englandís Shalrie Joseph, merely one of the top performers in all of MLS.

Joseph will be operating without two of his usual midfield companions, since Benny Feilhaber and Marko Perovic are both out due to injury.

It is unclear what Toronto head coach Aron Winter will get out of Alan Gordon, who scored both goals in California and has been Torontoís top player when fit enough to get into the lineup.

Winter didnít really want to give Gordon extended minutes on Saturday since he was just returning from a six-game absence, but a parade of injuries left him with no choice.

TFC should get Alen Stevanovic back and fellow forward Gianluca Zavarise is also fit.

The team will also benefit from the fact the stadium will be near empty since the Boston Bruins will be playing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final at the same time.

Winter would like to see the Reds play like they did in the second half against the Galaxy.

ďWhen we are working like a team, and want to help each other, maybe we can play very good football and it showed,Ē Winter said after the game.

ďNow, the most important thing that we have to do is that every game we bring the same focus like in the second half.Ē

Gordon said it was all about effort, something that must continue.

ďAt halftime we got together and we needed to come out with some pride, some heart and some fight. Itís something that we havenít been doing a lot of lately and we really did it (on Saturday),Ē Gordon said.

ďWe played 45 good minutes. We now have to now build on that and put together 90 minutes, get some points and move up the table.Ē

If Gordonís plan is to come to fruition, the Reds must come through on Wednesday, since a tough stretch of the schedule starts on Saturday.

Kickoff

Toronto FC (2-5-8) at New England Revolution (3-7-4)

8 p.m. TSN

Marquee matchup

Nathan Sturgis vs. Shalrie Joseph

It will take more than just Sturgis to deal with the talented Joseph. A perennial MVP candidate, Joseph is a force and inspiring leader for the Revolution. Joseph turned down Grenada and stayed with the club he captains, missing the Gold Cup.

New England doesnít score much, but Joseph is a constant threat.

Points of interest

* TFC has never won in New England and has been outscored 14-3.

* Revolution has dropped four straight.

* Torontoís third game in eight days comes on Saturday at home against Seattle.

* Matchup of two lowest-scoring teams in East who have worst goal differentials in the league.

TFC keys

* Get some goals. Obvious, yes, but New England has shown little ability to hit the back of the goal and two from TFC probably would assure victory.

* Keep the ball away from Joseph. Even at less than 100%, Joseph is one of the most talented players in the league and must not be allowed to roam.

ryan.wolstat@sunmedia.ca


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