April 25, 2007 Kansas City vs Toronto FC pregame story (from Toronto Sun)
Minding its own business
Forget Mo's return, TFC needs win
By DEAN McNULTY -- Sun Media
Toronto FC coach Mo Johnston returns to Kansas City tonight, where he played from 1996 to 2001. (Sun File/Michael Peake)
The Kansas City Wizards will kick off the home portion of their Major League Soccer season tonight by trying to get 20-year-old rookie forward Willy Guadarrama a date for that city's big music festival next month.
What the Wizards won't be doing is holding any kind of welcome back celebration for Mo Johnston, to mark the return of the striker-turned-midfielder who led the team to its only MLS championship in 2000.
And while young ladies will be vying for Guadarrama's attention in the parking lot outside Arrowhead Stadium, Johnston will be inside preparing his expansion Toronto FC side for -- he hopes -- its first win.
The TFC coach spent six seasons with the Wizards (1996-2001), but any ties now take a back seat to his duties calling the shots for his rookie-laden Toronto side.
"To me it's just another game," Johnston said after the team's final practice at BMO Field yesterday.
"The team's spirits are really high. I am very happy in that department."
Following losses to Chivas USA and the New England Revolution, TFC needs a good showing tonight to pave the way for Saturday's home opener.
With so many first-year MLS players, Johnston mused on the difficulty of familiarizing oneself with the likes of K.C. striker Eddie Johnson.
"Most of the guys wouldn't even know who I was talking about if I mentioned Eddie Johnston's name," he said.
But for TFC captain Jim Brennan, the opposition's roster matters little.
Brennan played the past 10 seasons in Britain while amassing 43 international caps for Canada before being convinced to return to his native Toronto.
"I don't know anything about Kansas City," Brennan said. "We are TFC. I don't want to worry about other teams and other players."
Brennan said the team has been working too hard at getting used to new teammates to be thinking about opposition players.
"We have to sort ourselves out here and not worry about anyone else," he said. "We are a new team."
The 29-year-old defender said he is not too concerned about the team's slow start.
"We can't be expected to come into the league and win every single game," Brennan said. "But at the same time we know we have to get better on the back side and start scoring goals at the front."
Brennan does like the look of the team Johnston says will stay together from here on in.
""We have a bunch of new guys (three players have been added since the 4-0 loss to New England on April 14) but they have fit in well," he said.
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