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11/23 FINAL
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11/30 9:20pm
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Eastern Conference Championship

After win over Montreal Impact, Toronto FC look to build momentum vs. another rival, Columbus Crew

TORONTO – Toronto FC will get another shot at besting a sworn enemy in Saturday’s showdown with the Columbus Crew (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, MLS Live), a week after a victory over rival Montreal Impact left players and staff in high spirits this week in training.

In Toronto’s last encounter with the Crew, Ryan Nelsen’s players picked up all three points and the 2014 Trillium Cup despite not playing the finest football. While Nelsen acknowledged that sometimes the performance doesn’t match the result and vice-versa, he’s only got one thing in mind for the match at Crew Stadium.  



“If you ask me what I want, what I want is three points,” Nelsen told reporters at training Friday, before his team departed for Columbus. “Obviously, if we win this game tomorrow it sets us up in a really nice position with a very difficult game – not to look to far head – against Kansas City, but then after that, it’s a favorable run in. I think we’re getting better and better and we’re evolving, as the season’s evolving, quite nicely.” 



The team will be without Jermain Defoe, though, as the talismanic English forward has been ruled out for two to three weeks with a groin injury.

However, he’s not the only injury concern for Toronto FC. Both Steven Caldwell and Mark Bloom returned to the training field for light workouts but are not yet ready to return to action. 



“I think a couple of weeks, they’ll probably miss this one, the Columbus game,” Nelsen said, of his two missing defenders. “Steven’s probably a wee bit progressed on more than Mark. Maybe Kansas City, thereabouts, that game, they’ll return.


“Steven’s desperate to get back, and, to be fair, we need him out as well,” Nelsen added. “He needs to get some sun, he’s looking whiter and whiter.” 



Another player raring to get back in action against the Crew is former Columbus player Dominic Oduro. The new TFC winger will get his first chance against his old team, but Oduro said he’s approaching the match by trying to keep a calm head. 



“It’s just another game, that’s how I’ve got to approach it,” Oduro said. “Otherwise I’ll lose my focus, and I’ve been doing well right now, I don’t want to lose it, so it’s just going to be another game.

“From my experience, what I’ve come to know is you’ve just got to keep your cool, especially against your former team,” Oduro continued. “These games are really critical, you don’t want to try to prove too much to your former team. I know my abilities, they know my abilities too, it’s just a matter of who wants to go out there and perform.”