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Depleted TFC in tough against powerful Chivas
April 22, 2009, 8:24 AM
Filed under: Chivas USA, Toronto FC

Less than one-quarter of the way into the season may be too early to talk about must-win games.

But Toronto FC players, winless in their last four games, clearly understand the importance of tonight’s tilt against Chivas USA, the first of three straight at BMO Field.

“It’s massive,” midfielder Carl Robinson said of the need to get the homestand off to a good start. “If you’re going to push for the playoffs, which is our aim, then you’ve got to win your home games.

“We’ve got to make sure that we make this a fortress again,” Robinson said yesterday at BMO Field.

TFC, which in its first two seasons in Major League Soccer has been much better at home, has so far this year played its best soccer on the road.

On Sunday, TFC lost 3-2 at FC Dallas. They battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the second half before a questionable penalty call in the 84th minute handed the win to the home side.

It was their third straight solid effort away from home, following a win and a tie to start the season.

At home, meanwhile, they played poorly in dropping a 2-0 game to Seattle and then were better but surrendered a tying goal with three minutes to go against FC Dallas.

Why TFC cannot put together a full 90-minute effort – home or away – is “the million-dollar question,” Robinson said.

“We know we’ve got it in us,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting that consistency.”

Getting their first home win tonight was already a tall order for TFC against league-leading Chivas. But the task against the southern California-based team is tougher as Dwayne De Rosario is out with a hamstring injury.

“He’s definitely out for two (games) and maybe more than that,” said coach John Carver.

De Rosario, who was nursing a sore hamstring after an April 11 game here, went down in pain after apparently pulling it Sunday.

The extent of the injury to De Rosario, who was noticeably limping yesterday, won’t be known until he has it scanned.

“He won’t be under any pressure to come back before he’s right,” said Carver, adding it could take three or four weeks for De Rosario to heal.

“We’re going to have to pick up some slack. Dwayne’s a big guy in our offence,” said striker Chad Barrett, who scored his first goal of the season Sunday. “But we’ve got some big guys on our bench, too … and any of those guys can come in and do a good job.”

The injury might open the door for Pablo Vitti to line up alongside Barrett, or see Rohan Ricketts once again start in the midfield.

Despite the loss Sunday, Carver said there were “an awful lot of positives you can take from the game,” especially the way the team bounced back after going down 2-0.

And, despite the fact TFC is looking to break into the win column at home, Carver insisted the pressure is on Chivas “because they’ve got to keep that (undefeated) run going.

“All good things come to an end and hopefully we can do something about that (tonight).”

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