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After tough loss against Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC looks for redemption

08/31/2012 03:49 EDT | Updated 10/31/2012 05:12 EDT
TORONTO - Two weeks after a devastating loss to Sporting Kansas City, the memories were still painful for Toronto FC.

Kansas City won 1-0 on a Kei Kamara free kick in the 83rd minute that was deflected at the wall before going in off the fingers of goalkeeper Milos Kocic.

"The last Kansas game left a sour taste in our mouth," said Canadian international midfielder Terry Dunfield. "For sure, I think that was a nil-niller all day. Someone leaves the wall and all of a sudden they score on a deflected free kick and you get beat 1-0 at home. That was tough to swallow."

The Reds (5-15-6) will have a chance at redemption on Saturday at Livestrong Sporting Park when they play Kansas City for the third time in this Major League Soccer season. Kansas City won 2-0 at home on June 16 in TFC's first match under Paul Mariner after he took over as head coach from Aron Winter.

Kansas City (14-7-5) will be without speedy forward Teal Bunbury who had season-ending knee surgery and defender Aurelien Collin who is suspended for the game.

"They've got massive depth," TFC defender Richard Eckersley said. "Whoever steps in is going to be a threat. We're not going to have a day off by any means. We've just got to be on our game and on our front foot constantly."

Toronto forward Eric Hassli has a rib injury and won't play Saturday. The injury forced him from the 3-1 loss to Santos Laguna of Mexico in a CONCACAF Champions League match at BMO Field on Tuesday.

That was another disappointing result for Toronto. The Reds had tied the game in the 68th minute on a goal by Quincy Amarikwa and they felt they played well enough for a draw. But a familiar theme for their season played out when Santos scored in the 90th and 92nd minutes.

"Over the past month we've been getting real close without getting past the finish line, seeing the games off," Dunfield said. "I think 1-1 was probably a fair result the other night. I don't think it was a 3-1 game.

"I think it's lots of little mistakes that are leading to goals right now. We're making poor decisions, especially when it counts in the last five minutes. In general we're making naive mistakes maybe. Mistakes that shouldn't be made when you've put in 85 minutes of hard work). It seems like we can’t get away with anything, we really are being punished."

Dunfield feels there have been positives.

"We're keeping the ball better now, we're creating chances and I always feel we’ve got a goal in us," he said.

Toronto worked on ironing out the kinks during Thursday's session at Downsview Park.

"Possession, out of possession, in possession," Mariner said. "Determination to get it back. Tempo. If in doubt get it out, it’s such an old adage.

"When you watch Brazil, Argentina, Barcelona, all the great teams, all the highlight reels show the attacking play. You never see them when they're under real pressure, they just put it up the field. There’s no shame in that, it’s just a way of winning football matches or keeping yourself in football matches."

Notes: Dunfield and defender Ashtone Morgan have will play for Canada in World Cup qualifying matches against Panama Sept. 7-11. ...After Saturday’s game, centre back Darren O’Day will join the Republic of Ireland for a World Cup qualifier at Kazakhstan on Sept. 7 but will be miss Ireland’s next game, a friendly, so that he can play in Toronto’s game against Chicago at BMO Field on Sept. 12. ... Hassli picked up the rib injury in the 2-1 loss at Columbus on Aug. 22. He also had back spasms, which cleared up but the rib injury persisted. ....TFC defender Jeremy Hall was at Rogers Centre Thursday to renew acquaintances with Tampa Bay Rays’ bench coach Dave Martinez. Hall, who is from Tampa, played soccer and baseball with Martinez’s son Josh. ...TFC had a short workout Friday before departing for Kansas City.

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