Toronto Visits Resurgent Revs

Asif Hossain - TorontoFC.ca
Mariner's Old Digs

Head coach Paul Mariner brings Toronto FC to his old digs when the Reds take on New England Revolution on Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET, TSN 2).

The former Revs assistant has many fond memories of his days working in Foxborough, Massachusetts but nostalgia took a back seat to business on Friday when the Reds announced they had traded away the team's first designated player, Julian de Guzman, to FC Dallas for 22-year old forward Andrew Wiedeman. Mariner held a conference call with the Toronto media from the road Friday regarding the transaction, before taking TFC through a training session just outside Gillette Stadium. The coach is looking for Toronto to have a strong start away from home, after an electric finish to beat Vancouver 3-2 at home on Wednesday.

Terry To The Rescue

The man who provided the electricity at midweek is former Vancouver hometown hero, now one of Mariner's most trusted midfielders in Toronto, Terry Dunfield. The winning strike all the sweeter because it arrived five minutes after Vancouver had pulled level at regulation time. TFC fans will hope Dunfield's 95th minute header ended a trend of surrendering points late, something they did against New England on June 23, when a two goal lead eroded resulting in a 2-2 tie.

"That was definitely two points dropped against New England at home," Dunfield told Toronto FC TV of the disappointing draw in June. He credits the Revolution as one of the league's most in-form teams (unbeaten in five) and knows Toronto will have to be sharp from the outset - as instructed by Mariner - to leave Foxborough with a contribution to the standings.

Challenge Accepted

Coming off a 2-0 win over New York Red Bulls, the Revs are understandably in a confident mood during a three-game home stand that ends with Toronto's visit. Their enthusiasm has reached the ears of TFC keeper Milos Kocic, who revealed on Friday that some New England players have this day marked on their calendar.

"I talked to a couple of friends of mine, they said they are very fired up to play this game against us," Kocic said. The two teams have enjoyed an Eastern Conference rivalry since Toronto joined the league in 2007. Neither team has ever beaten the other away from home. Toronto has registered two draws against four losses at Foxborough. Toronto would break new ground in the all-time series with a win Saturday night. The added layer of personal competiton against friends in the oppositon camp has Kocic salivating. "I'm looking forward to it," the keeper concluded.

Winger Returns

Another player looking forward to this particular match is Toronto's Reggie Lambe. The Bermuda international watched the Vancouver victory from a distance away on personal matters.

"I was running around the place," Lambe fondly remembered celebrating Dunfield's winner far from BMO Field. Now back in action, the winger becomes even more vital to Toronto's midfield than before with de Guzman's departure. Lambe may be counted on to log more minutes now. With TFC receiving an offensive jolt from talented rookie Luis Silva last game, Lambe could further complement the Toronto attack with his speed on the right flank and the occasional eye for goal. "It feels good to be back with the team," Lambe told TorontoFC.ca on Friday as the Reds prepared for the Revs.

The Opposition

The Officials

Referee Hilario Grajeda will lead the officiating crew on Saturday night. The MLS veteran has 69 games to his name as the man in charge, during which he averaged 24.5 fouls and 3.6 yellow cards according to MLSsoccer.com. Grajeda has sent off 14 players and called 11 penalties over these matches. Paul Scott and Kevin Klinger will serve as Grajeda's assistants with Niko Bratsis on the touch line as the fourth official.