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Dec 29, 2012 7:51pm
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

TORONTO —With the monumental task of restoring some pride to Toronto FCs
season, new head coach Paul Mariner admits he cant get lost in nostalgia as his
team plays the New England Revolution on Saturday at BMO Field. Percy Harvin Youth Jersey . Mariner was an
assistant coach for the Revolution from 2004 to 2009 before taking a coaching
job Plymouth Argyle in England. He is now completely focused on the plight of
Toronto FC —a team that is still looking for its first win since he took the
helm. “Every single game is a cup final for us,” he said after the teams
training session Friday. “Weve got to produce. It just happens its New England.
Obviously all my friends have been there. I worked there for a long, long time.”
Toronto (1-10-1) will be looking for its second win of the season and first
since Mariner replaced Aron Winter on June 7. Despite some encouraging signs in
Mariners first two games (one loss, one draw), Toronto remains last in the MLS
standings and is likely to miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season since
debuting in 2007. With a two-goal lead entering the final 20 minutes at Houston
on Wednesday, Toronto allowed the Dynamo to pull even for a 3-3 draw. Toronto
players were still pleased with their effort throughout most of the game. The
draw came after a 2-0 loss in Kansas City last weekend. “This whole trip was a
positive trip,” said midfield Eric Avila. “If we take those two well be a great
team. The team feels real good. Its got a positive vibe. I think if we take that
and continue onto the game on Saturday well be good.” Toronto has shown a
particular vulnerability on set-piece opportunities the entire season. In a
Kansas City, poor marking allowed Julio Cesar to score off a corner kick.
Houston scored its first goal off a corner on Wednesday. The squad spent time
Friday working to address the problem. “If we get a reputation of a team that
gets scored on set pieces, thats not what you want,” said Mariner. “We worked a
little on that this morning. A set piece, its all about attitude.” Meantime,
three Toronto players who were arrested in Houston prior to Wednesdays game
werent involved in Fridays training session. The club said they wont be involved
in any way until all investigations into the matter are concluded. Miguel
Aceval, Luis Silva and Nick Soolsma were arrested for public intoxication
outside a Houston nightclub. While Mariner called the incident a “black eye” and
a “thorn in his side,” he said that ultimately it comes down to how the other
players are affected by off-the-field events. With a shortened bench after the
three were sent home, a point on Wednesday after a largely positive performance
seems to indicate that theyve overcome the distraction. “Once we step over that
white line everyone forgets whats happened and weve got to do a job,” said
defender Richard Eckersley. “Were doing it for the pride of the club and weve
got to pick that up a little bit and start doing that (Saturday).” While Aceval,
Silva and Soolsma were absent, goalkeeper Stefan Frei did make an appearance,
chatting with some teammates after a light ride on the stationary bike. Frei has
been out since March with a broken leg suffered in training. He isnt likely to
return this season but has been cleared to do some light activity and is no
longer on crutches. Mariner also said that defender Adrian Cann was expected to
have an MRI on Friday to assess the damage to the knee h