TFC's Winter: We're going to do everything to beat Sporting

Aron Winter

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TORONTO — Toronto FC head coach Aron Winter knows all about Sporting Kansas City, Saturday’s opponent at BMO Field (7 pm ET; TSN in Canada/watch LIVE online in US).

He has watched their games, and he's well aware of their struggles and epic 10-game road trip that is coming to end. But the team that was uppermost in his thoughts as game day approached? His own.

“Tomorrow we have to do something well,” Winter said after Friday’s training at BMO Field, “because our last game at home [a 6-2 loss to Philadelphia] was not good.
 
“Tomorrow we’re going to do everything to win that game against them. It is a team that is not doing well either in the league. They’ve had a lot of difficulties, but first of all we have to watch for ourselves, play well and not worry about our opponent.”

Toronto's team on Saturday will not include forward Alan Gordon, who has not played in a league match since April 30 because of a groin injury. He trained Friday, and though he has been held out of Saturday’s match, he should be fully fit for next weekend.

“We’re trying to avoid any setbacks that I had a few weeks ago,” Gordon said. “I guess we’re going to look forward to next weekend. Just let it heal, get a little bit stronger and that way we’re not dealing with this anymore.”

There also remained a faint possibility that Jacob Peterson would be on the game-day roster after he trained on Friday, though Winter said that was unlikely. The midfielder missed the last two games with a hamstring injury.

“A hamstring is one of those injuries that you can’t be too careful with,” Peterson said. “You want to make sure you’re ready when you come back. So we’re taking it day by day now.”

One player almost guaranteed a start is center back Nana Attakora. With fellow center back Adrian Cann out for the season with a torn ACL suffered in training last Tuesday and defender Dicoy Williams playing for Jamaica in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, Attakora is a logical option — particularly since he has been doing well in training the past couple of weeks.

“Aron has talked to me plenty of times, not just when Adrian went down,” Attakora said. “He has shown his faith in me and he’s been nothing but positive.”

Attakora’s chance comes at the expense of a player who not only was a teammate but a mentor and someone who has been like an older brother to him.  

“It’s been tough,” Attakora said. “I spoke with [Cann] and just his positivity — it helps.”