TORONTO – Come Saturday, Toronto FC head coach Paul Mariner will once more be facing his former team, the New England Revolution (7:30 pm ET, TSN2 in Canada, MLS LIVE).
But this time, the game will be at Gillette Stadium, and Mariner is prepared for a nostalgic return to Foxborough, where he was assistant coach for five years.
“Obviously going back to my old stomping ground where I have some incredible memories, it’s going to be an emotional time for me,” Mariner said Friday on a conference call.
But Mariner’s memories of his first meeting with the Revs as TFC’s head coach, a 2-2 draw on June 23 at BMO Field, are not so fond.
Toronto squandered a two-goal lead that they built in the first half, with New England’s equalizer in the fourth minute of stoppage time making the draw feel more like a loss for the Reds.
So it should not be difficult for Mariner to push aside any nostalgic feelings for awhile.
“The one thing that we need to get is a result,” Mariner said. “We need to get back on a decent platform and be consistent with our performances.”
Toronto FC (3-11-4) are 2-2-4 since Mariner took over from Aron Winter on June 7 and they will come into the game against New England (6-7-4) bolstered by a last-minute 3-2 win over Vancouver on Wednesday that followed a 3-0 loss in Philadelphia on Sunday.
Goalkeeper Milos Kocic is hoping the dramatic win over Vancouver will give Toronto momentum going into the game against New England, but TFC's last game against the Revolution makes him wary.
“They outplayed us here in the last 20 minutes of the game and they scored the goal in the last minute of the game,” Kocic said after Wednesday’s game. “I think we’re going to have to be very careful of how we approach that team in New England. With this big win I think we can definitely go with some confidence.”
Defender Jeremy Hall left Wednesday’s game with a mild hamstring injury and is doubtful for Saturday.
“I’m not hopeful that he can play,” Mariner said.
However, Dicoy Williams, who is returning from knee surgery that ended his 2011 season, will be available.