Kick Off: For Toronto, no game bigger than CCL vs. LA

Kick Off, March 6, 2012: Toronto FC fans

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Toronto FC left back Ashtone Morgan is only 21 with his entire career ahead of him.

But the TFC Academy product is absolutely convinced that tomorrow’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg against the LA Galaxy at a sold out Rogers Centre is “the biggest game probably I’ll play in in my whole career.”

More from Morgan: “It’s amazing, we can make history and I want to be part of that and I think we have the guys who can do that job on Wednesday.”

Get a sneak peek at the newly painted field at Rogers Centre in this video. (VIDEO)

In Toronto, there is a debate about whether TFC’s preseason schedule has prepared the Canadian club adequately for the CCL quarterfinal. The LA Galaxy played more matches against tougher opposition in the lead-up.

So how does Seattle GM Adrian Hanauer explain the fact that there will be 45,000 in Toronto for a CCL match while 18,500 have tickets to Seattle’s quarterfinal against Santos Laguna? Read what he says here about the “American sports conscience” and how “Toronto haven’t had a lot of big games lately.”

The Santos Laguna match is still a special occasion and will see the Sounders debut their Super Cyan kits.

You still don’t believe this is a big event? Just ask Seattle manager Sigi Schmid, who says: “It’s the most prestigious cup any MLS team competes for.”

Here’s the squad that Santos Laguna will travel this morning to the USA. It includes a sprinkling of youth players. (SPANISH)

This report, which claims that Herculez Gomez will get the start vs. the Sounders, says that Santos will depart today at 9 am local time from Mexico and after a stop in Houston, they are set to arrive at 7 pm Seattle time. Once there, they are scheduled to hold a late practice at CenturyLink (8 pm PT). (SPANISH)

With their participation in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Seattle Sounders’ league schedule will not see them in action on First Kick weekend. But they will be hosting a match on Saturday morning at 10:30 am local time at Starfire.

For those fans who still believe the Vancouver Whitecaps should be the ones hosting the LA Galaxy in the CCL after the postponement that occurred in the final of the Canadian Championship last year, Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei has these words for you: “It’s always easy to talk trash in the end. It’s best if you give it your all and win so you don’t have to look to excuses.”

Speaking of the Whitecaps, one of their new assistant coaches revealed how Vancouver tried to sign US captain Carlos Bocanegra before he joined Glasgow Rangers. Should he become available because of the Scottish club’s financial difficulties, the ‘Caps stand first in line.

Staying in Vancouver, newly acquired Sébastien Le Toux shares more details than ever about the issues that arose with his trial at Bolton Wanderers when he was still a member of the Philadelphia Union.

Find out which Vancouver Whitecaps player elicited the following response from his teammates during preseason: “When I first came into the locker room and took my shirt off, the guys were like: 'Wow, look at those pecs!'”

Today’s a big day for Real Salt Lake as they inaugurate a new practice facility that will be situated blocks away from Rio Tinto Stadium.

Colorado Rapids left back Anthony Wallace received some crushing injury news yesterday, just days away from his club’s home opener. Just as he was returning from one long-term injury, he suffered another that will keep him out six to nine months.

The concrete slab that fell from the ceiling of a parking garage structure is still a story in Montreal. This report attempts to explain how it may have happened, while the mayor commented on the incident to make a political point. Meanwhile, Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo reassures his fans that his team’s home opener against the Chicago Fire will take place regardless.

One veteran reporter is critical of the New York Red Bulls offseason as they get set to open their season on Sunday in Dallas (3 pm ET, NBC Sports Network): “If you want to challenge for a championship, the moves the club made in the offseason can’t be encouraging.”

This Columbus Crew midfielder is encouraged by the call-up he’s just earned from the Trinidad and Tobago Under-23 national team.

Charlie Davies will have a new manager at Ligue 1 club Sochaux in France after Mehmed Bazdarevic was let go with the team in last place.

From Europe today, the first verdicts will be handed down in the UEFA Champions League as Arsenal host AC Milan down 4-0 on aggregate (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes). There’s also an FA Cup fifth-round replay between Birmingham City and Chelsea in Roberto Di Matteo’s first go as manager (2:30 pm ET, Fox Soccer Plus). This evening the Copa Libertadores will also see action with Vasco da Gama vs. Alianza Lima (7:30 pm ET, Fox Deportes). That’ll be followed by the CONCACAF Champions League contest between Morelia and Monterrey (10 pm ET, Galavision).

Meanwhile, read up on this controversy over a soccer field developed for those incarcerated at the US base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Leave it to The Sun in Scotland to come up with a creative headline describing Kris Boyd’s debut goal for the Portland Timbers on Sunday: “Boyd’s a Logend!”

You’ve always wanted to get a good look at David Beckham’s dog Coco, right? Here’s your big chance as the canine is decked out in birthday garb to celebrate Brooklyn Beckham’s 13th birthday. (PHOTOS)

Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Andrew Weber wishes he and his brother could redo the Paraguay leg of The Amazing Race, specifically the bottle-balancing task: “I probably have better balance than he does, especially with things on my head,” Weber said.

Finally, in San Diego, there’s a budding movement to create the first fan-owned MLS team using an online system to generate funds. They’re looking for 18,964 members at $1000 a pop. Can it happen?

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

Watch the MLS Season Preview built by The Home Depot: Key Additions

Expert panel forecasts the MLS 2012 campaign on ExtraTime Radio

The Sideline: Sporting KC’s Aurélien Collin cannot disrespect the cat


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