April 22, 2011 MLS--Reserves Return Saturday (from TorontoFC.ca)
Reserves Return Saturday Asif Hossain TorontoFC.ca April 22, 2011 Toronto FC's second team will play its first MLS Reserve League match on Saturday following the final whistle of the game against Columbus Crew (4 p.m. ET on GOL TV Canada). Those with tickets to the earlier match can stay and watch the reserves in action at 6:45 p.m. All those remaining at BMO Field can sit in the east stands to catch the second contest between Toronto and Columbus. Toronto was set to debut in the Reserve League last Sunday against D.C. United, but extreme weather conditions at Downsview Park forced the match to be called off. The Reserve League is broken down in three divisions of six teams, with each club playing 10 games in 2011. The Reds are training on Friday morning to prepare for Columbus. Toronto FC forward Alan Gordon took part in full training Friday afternoon at BMO Field. Head coach Aron Winter said his striker is "fit and is important in the system that (the club) plays." The outlook wasn't so optimistic for winger Alen Stevanovic, however. Winter indicated that the attacking player is still not fully recovered from an abductor strain and that the coach has to make the most of his resources as the Reds enter a busy period with two to three games each week for the next month. Adrian Cann left last Saturday's loss to D.C. United with bruised ribs but the Canadian international defender was back in training Friday and looked fit to play against Columbus. When asked if newly acquired defender Richard Eckersley would see action Saturday, Winter replied "it's possible." With defence of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship looming Winter also addressed the importance of winning the cup and advancing to the CONCACAF Champions League preliminary rounds. "Each game to me is very important. It's no different if you are playing in the league, the (CCL) or the Canadian championship. Every game is very important to me." Toronto will fly out on Monday to take on FC Edmonton in the first leg of the NCC on Wednesday, April 27 (8 p.m. ET on Rogers Sportsnet). The second leg of the new knockout format will be played in Toronto on May 4 (tickets available here). The winner of Toronto-Edmonton will play the victor of Montreal-Vancouver in another home-and-away series to determine the 2011 champion. In 2010 Toronto won the NCC, advanced past CCL preliminaries over two legs and finished third in the group stage of the continent's premier tournament, just shy of securing a place in the quarterfinals. Toronto was grouped alongside fellow MLS rival Real Salt Lake, who are now 90 minutes away from winning the Champions League (on GOL TV Canada, Wednesday April 27 at 10 p.m.). A CCL triumph for Salt Lake will earn them a ticket to the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
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