While the CONCACAF Champions League has been filled with meaning and purpose for Toronto FC this year, their league performance thus far has been pointless – literally.
With their CCL dream over after Wednesday’s 6-2 loss at Santos Laguna, it’s back to MLS play now, where the Reds have lost three of three games thus far and have been outscored 7-1. And reality resumes on Saturday against the Montreal Impact at Olympic Stadium (noon ET, TSN/RDS in Canada, MLS Live in US).
The Reds traveled from Torreón, Mexico, to Montreal immediately after Wednesday night’s CCL semifinal second leg, and head coach Aron Winter hopes his team will be able to leverage their magical run in the tournament back into league success despite the bittersweet ending.
“I think we went a long way and we have done it well,” Winter told MLSsoccer.com by phone from Mexico on Wednesday shortly before departing. “I’m upset and disappointed because we [are not] in the final. But still it was a very good experience. Everybody’s down now and that’s normal. But now we have to prepare for the league and we have to do it very well.”
On the positive side for Toronto is that they’ll have striker Danny Koevermans back for the game against the Impact after the Dutchman sat out the Santos match on yellow card accumulation. Eric Avila and Logan Emory – both of whom were Cup-tied for CCL play – will also be available.
Winter believes his troops will put the disappointment behind them and will be able to refocus on the task at hand against their Canadian rivals.
“Yeah, we have to,” he said. “We have to and Saturday, we’re going to get a good result.”