March 19, 2011 MLS--Winter Says Toronto Ready For "Canadian Derby" (from

Winter says Toronto ready for "Canadian derby"
Reds vs. Whitecaps a milestone game in Canadian soccer
Duane Rollins
March 19, 2011

(Courtesy of Toronto FC)

VANCOUVER, B.C. — The cities may be 2,700 miles apart, but the Toronto–Vancouver rivalry may already be as big as any in MLS.

“It’s a derby game,” TFC head coach Aron Winter said following training at Empire Field on Friday. “It’s important to our fans.”

The Reds take on Vancouver on Saturday (6:30 pm ET, TSN) in what will be the Whitecaps’ first-ever game in Major League Soccer. The showdown is receiving widespread attention in Vancouver, where local fans love to hate everything about their eastern rivals.

With about 100 fans from Toronto having made the trip and a national TV audience on TSN, the game is one of the most anticipated in recent Canadian soccer history. Despite Toronto have won just once during preseason, Winter remains confident.

“We’re prepared,” he said. “We’ve discovered a few things that we can do against them.”

When asked to elaborate, Winter didn’t bite.

“I’m not going to say that,” he said. “That’s for me to tell my boys [on Saturday].”

The game will represent a homecoming of sorts for Toronto defender Adrian Cann, who played for the Whitecaps from 2006 to '08. He says he’s excited to be back to play his former club.

“It’s a bit of a memory being here, “ he said. “I’m enjoying the the time here, but that will end Saturday once the game starts.”

Cann says that he has moved on from his contract dispute with TFC and is ready to help the Reds earn their first MLS Cup Playoffs berth. That remains the goal, said captain Dwayne De Rosario, and the club remains on track to meet it.

“I’m not going to stand here and promise anything,” De Rosario said. “It will be a challenge, but we’re playing proper football now. We’re confident.”

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