Toronto Out To Tame The Fire

Asif Hossain - TorontoFC.ca
Wanting The Win

Toronto FC faces Chicago Fire in a midweek tilt on Wednesday night at BMO Field (TSN 2 at 7 p.m. ET) without the services of several regulars due to the international break.

The Reds will be without Canadians Terry Dunfield and Ashtone Morgan, plus Jamaica internationals Ryan Johnson and Dicoy Williams. Captain and midfielder Torsten Frings is in Germany recovering from hip surgery, joining Stefan Frei and Danny Koevermans on a significant list of players out for the season. Through all of these challenges for head coach Paul Mariner, it's business as usual.

"Probably couldn't have come at a worse time," Mariner said of the absences as Toronto hopes to snap a seven game MLS winless streak. The losing stretch saw the Reds get hit with several injuries but Reggie Lambe, Doneil Henry and Matt Stinson all look set to return to the matchday setup. Toronto will be without a couple of depth options in midfielder Oscar Cordon and goalkeeper Quillan Roberts, both called to Canada Under-20 camp. "We'll be OK," Mariner continued, "we worked on a couple of things during the last few sessions ... we want to win."

Irish Eyes

The international situation could have been more dire but Irish defender Darren O'Dea and Bermuda regulars goalkeeper Freddy Hall and aforementioned winger Lambe returned from the break ahead of schedule. Mariner was grateful to their respective federations but cautioned that a very long flight from central Asia and a slight bout with illness may affect O'Dea's match fitness.

"It was basically a 17-hour roundtrip to get back here," O'Dea said after playing 90 minutes for Ireland in a 2-1 World Cup Qualifying win in Kazakhstan. Ireland received two late goals to pull out the victory, a bit of good fortune that O'Dea hopes to transfer from country to club before getting some much needed rest. "I'll be ready to go Wednesday and I'm sure I'll sleep well (that) night."

Finding His Feet

O'Dea could be joined in the backline on Wednesday with a player that he could have a tremendous influence on during his Toronto career. Doneil Henry returned from a knee injury this week to take part in first team training and the 19-year old homegrown defender hopes to continue making strides in a season that has seen him stake his claim in Toronto and Canada.

"You know I was on a high," Henry recalled his international call-up earlier this season before being sidelined. "Right now coming back from injury - trying to find my feet, get back into rhythm." Up against the likes of Patrick Nyarko, Alvaro Fernandez and Chris Rolfe on a talented Chicago attack, Henry's fitness will be challenged on his return should he get the nod from Mariner.

Finishing Strong

One of the positives for Toronto this season has been the contribution of MLS SuperDraft selection Luis Silva. The rookie has four goals and two assists in the league on his inaugural year. He is increasingly living up to potential, now finding himself as the offensive catalyst for the club heading down the stretch.

"(We are) trying to get the best out of the few games left," Silva told Toronto FC TV on Tuesday, aware of the club's place in the table and needing to show promise for 2013. On Wednesday, he can expect to have some top of the line help in Eric Hassli, who seems to have recovered from a rib injury suffered against Santos Laguna in the Reds' last Champions League game.

The Opposition