Fresh from winning their first trophy, Toronto FC faces the New York Red Bulls, the league’s worst team.
But Dwayne De Rosario said the players aren’t about to take tonight’s visitors lightly, especially when a win would put TFC alone in second place in the tight Eastern Conference standings.
“We have to realize that in the league we haven’t done anything,” De Rosario said of a possible letdown after thumping Montreal 6-1 last week to win the Canadian championship. “Every game we have to prove ourselves.”
De Rosario, who scored TFC’s first hat-trick in the win over Montreal, warned the Red Bulls are dangerous because they’re coming in “hungry and desperate for points” to stay alive in the playoff race.
New York, which made it all the way to the MLS Cup final before losing to Columbus last season, has lost seven straight and sits six points behind sixth place New England in the conference standings.
Defender Marco Velez said being a game within the conference it’s vital for TFC to get the three points, which would widen the gap to 12 points over New York.
“We enjoyed the championship, but now we’ve got to get out heads right and get an important win that we need,” Velez said.
Coach Chris Cummins said TFC had two goals for the season — winning the Canadian championship and making the Major League Soccer playoffs for the first time.
To that end, getting three points in the standings against the Red Bulls is key, especially as TFC reaches the midpoint of a season in which 10 of the final 15 games are on the road.
The road has been particularly tough on TFC. They have just one win this season and an all-time 5-23-7 mark away from BMO Field.
“We won’t be taking anything for granted,” Cummins said of his team, which has won two straight.
“We need to be a lot more consistent,” he said. “It’s important we go into the game and use the result (in Montreal) as a springboard and we don’t rest on that and think we’ve cracked it and can just turn up.”
• TFC announced yesterday the signing of Canadian international Ali Gerba. The 26-year-old Montrealer was most recently with third-tier English team Milton Keynes Dons FC, where he had 10 goals in 24 games. Due to transfer rules, Gerb won’t be available to play until July 15.
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