Toronto's Winter: Fans want to see LA in CCL quarters
TORONTO – When it comes to next week’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal draw, Toronto FC head coach and technical director Aron Winter isn’t going to be picky about who his team plays.
The Reds' fans might be, though.
“[The opponent] doesn’t matter for me,” Winter told reporters on Wednesday at BMO Field, “But for the crowd it should be nice to have [the LA Galaxy]. They have big names and they’re starting the same period in the preseason like we are doing. But it doesn’t matter because if you want to go further on I think you have to beat everybody.”
In addition to the Galaxy, TFC’s could also play Mexican sides Santos Laguna and defending champions Monterrey in their quarterfinal matchup in Toronto on either March 6, 7 or 8.
While LA have the big names like David Beckham, Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, Santos and Monterrey would travel to Toronto with the benefit of being in the middle of their seasons.
“The Mexican teams, I think most of the people don’t know the players, but they’re very good,” Winter said. “And the way they play is nice.”
All three of Toronto's possible opponents finished first in their respective CCL groups, while the Reds finished second in Group C. TFC will play the second leg away on March 13, 14 or 15.
“When you are playing the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League, all the opponents are strong,” Winter said. “The Mexican teams have done it very well, if you watch the whole history.”
Mexican teams have won the CONCACAF club championship 27 times while teams from Costa Rica are second with six.
Indoor game possible
Due to concerns about the weather in early March, Toronto FC are considering playing the home leg of their CCL quarterfinal tie under the roof of Rogers Centre, better known as home Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays.
“We’ll probably be making a decision very, very soon,” Earl Cochrane, director of team and player operations, said Wednesday at BMO Field. “We’re looking at both options. The challenges here are obvious.”
Exhibition soccer matches have been played at Rogers Centre successfully, and installation of a natural grass field at the artificial turf facility is being considered.