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TFC's Mariner: "We just have to put 90 minutes together"

Luis Silva - Banner

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TORONTO – Paul Mariner wants a full 90 minutes from his team. The Toronto FC coach has seen a promising start to his tenure go into the tank as his side have gone 0-4-1 in their last five, largely because they aren’t closing out good performances.

And it needs to change on Saturday when they head to Houston to take on the Dynamo (8:30 pm ET; TSN 2 in Canada, MLS Live in the US).

“I had a meeting this morning with the players,” head coach Paul Mariner said after training on Friday at Downsview Park. “You can’t play 45 minutes of football in MLS, you’ve got to play 90-plus. We’ve got to try to put it all together. Hopefully we can do that Saturday.”

Toronto can't cope against Crew

They didn’t follow through on Wednesday against the Columbus Crew in a Trillium Cup rivalry match. The Reds spotted Columbus a two-goal lead before Luis Silva got a consolation tally in the second half.

“To me it was up the field where we should have been closing the ball down, so therefore we don’t get hurt in the final third,” Mariner said. “It’s just about the collective. Everybody is putting their work in. We just have to put the 90 minutes together, the whole 11 of us.”

“Once we got started it was a little too late,” Silva said of the Columbus loss. “We should start from the beginning and play 90 minutes of soccer and we are trying to get better at that”

“We were all over them,” said Richard Eckersley who returned to right back Wednesday after a stint at center back. “We made a few substitutions and it changed it a little bit. But that’s the sort of pressure we have to have for the majority of the game not that fleeting 15 minutes every other game. We’ve got to consistently put that pressure on the other team.”

Toronto has a loss and a tie against Houston this season. They led 3-1 at the half on June 20 at Houston – Mariner’s second game as new coach – but the Dynamo earned the 3-3 draw on a last-minute goal. Houston won 2-0 in the return match at BMO Field on July 28.

Veteran duo getting down time; ‘Keeper change?

Striker Eric Hassli and midfielder Torsten Frings did not train with the team on Friday.

“Just resting up, they’re more mature players, let’s put it that way,” Mariner said. “We just want to take care of them. They’re in there with the trainers just doing what they need to do.”

Bermuda international goalkeeper Freddy Hall made his first start of the season on Wednesday to give a break to Milos Kocic who had played in every league game until then.

“It’s to be determined,” Mariner said when asked who would start in goal against Houston. “Everybody’s fit.”