TORONTO – Playing against the Colorado Rapids at BMO Field on Saturday (1:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online) will evoke memories for Toronto FC attacking midfielder Eric Avila.
He will remember last Nov. 21, a chilly night at BMO Field, when he and his FC Dallas teammates lost a 2-1 extratime heartbreaker to the Rapids in MLS Cup.
The winning goal was deflected into his own net by Dallas defender George John in the 106th minute.
“It brings back memories,” Avila said Friday after training at BMO Field to prepare for the Rapids. “I’m excited to play. It was always up and down and it was cold. It’s hard to explain, but it was a very memorable moment for me, the drama that went behind it.”
Dallas traded Avila to Toronto on Aug. 2 for forward Maicon Santos.
The 23-year-old has started all four games in which he has appeared for Toronto. He scored his first goal on Aug. 27 in the 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.
His previous involvement with FC Dallas has left him cup-tied for Toronto’s games in the CONCACAF Champions League — he missed the 4-0 trouncing by Pumas in Mexico City on Wednesday in a CCL Group C match — but he played the full game in the 4-2 win in Columbus last week and said that if Toronto duplicates that performance, they can do well against the Rapids on Saturday
“I think the way we’ve been playing in league play — especially against Columbus — I think we really didn’t worry much about what they brought," he said. "If we play the way we were trained to play, and if we do the right things, we’ll come away with the victory."
Avila and forward Peri Marosevic, also a former FC Dallas player, will welcome a friend in central defender Kyle Davies, who was acquired Thursday in a trade with the LA Galaxy for defender Dasan Robinson.
Davies, a 22-year-old Oakland, Calif., native, played for Dallas from 2009-10.
“Kyle Davies is a good friend of mine,” Avila said. “He had a tough injury [broken arm in the opening game in 2010] — a great guy, a great defender.”
“He’s got that English mentality, a strong English center back kind of play to him,” Marosevic said. "He’s always willing to work hard.”
Frei or Kocic?
Head coach Aron Winter said forward Joao Plata, who could be out three weeks with a strained hamstring, is the only player not available for Saturday.
Winter said it will be a game-time decision who will start in goal between Stefan Frei, who suffered a charley horse against Columbus, and Milos Kocic.