TORONTO – Toronto FC midfielder Terry Dunfield is surprising even himself with his goal scoring this season.
“I think I need to work on my celebrations, but that’s a good problem to have, I guess,” Dunfield told MLSsoccer.com after training on Friday in preparation for Saturday’s match against D.C. United (1 pm ET; TSN/RDS in Canada, MLS Live in the US).
Dunfield, a hard-working midfielder, is not known for scoring. But after his two goals against CD Águila in Toronto’s 3-0 victory in a CONCACAF Champions League group match in El Salvador last month, he has six this season in all competitions.
“With so many of our big sort of center forwards out injured, there’s been opportunities to get forward,” the 30-year-old Canadian international said. “And some of the service from some of the players has been fantastic, and I’ve just managed to get on the end of things.”
Three of his goals have come in the CCL and three have been in league play, including a game-winner against Vancouver in stoppage time and an 85th-minute equalizer against Houston.
Coming into the season, he’d scored 12 goals as a professional from 2002 through 2011 and another in an international match for Canada.
Now, Dunfield is performing more like the player the Reds were seeking when they acquired him from his hometown Whitecaps in July of 2011. But he was hampered by an injury that required sports hernia surgery last December, and never really got on track.
“I think this season the fans have seen what I bring to a game, every game, and it’s the same in training,” Dunfield said. “I just want to win at everything. Unfortunately it hasn’t worked that way with results this year ,but I truly believe the team, long-term, is going in the right direction. It’s easier said than done but we’re going to get it right.”
The future is all Toronto have to play for since being eliminated from the playoffs. The Reds are trying to end an 11-game stretch without a league win, and head coach Paul Mariner will be looking at the way his players perform in Saturday’s game with 2013 in mind.
“I want to see that they want to be here next year, it’s very, very simple,” Mariner said. “We’ve got to put on a performance. I just said to the lads, ‘We’ve got to do it [Saturday].’ The crowd will get behind us if we do it, it’s not up to the crowd to get us going.”
D.C. United (15-10-6) defeated Toronto (5-19-7) at BMO Field 2-0 on May 5 and 3-1 at Washington two weeks later.