Toronto FC Gets Ready for Puerto Rico: Concacaf Champions League 2009

Fred NockContributor IJuly 27, 2009

CARSON, CA - APRIL 13:  Danny Dichio #9 of Toronto FC and Sean Franklin #28 of the Los Angeles Galaxy vie for the ball in the first half during their MLS game at the Home Depot Center on April 13, 2008 in Carson, California. Toronto FC defeated the Galaxy 3-2.  (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

Toronto needs to clear its head after another late game collapse to the Columbus Crew on July 25.  There is a disturbing pattern here that must be broken fast.  Toronto has given up too many late goals this year: They have a minus-eight goal differential in the final 15 minutes of play in the MLS this season. 

Their upcoming home and home series with Puerto Rico starts Wednesday at BMO field.  The stakes are high and Toronto must show more concentration.  The winner of this two-game series will continue in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament.

Toronto secured its entrance into this tournament for the first time with a massive 6-1 win over the Montreal impact to win the Canadian Championship.  Now they face another challenge from the United Soccer League in Puerto Rico.

Toronto FC is one of five MLS teams competing in the Club tournament this year, the others being Houston, Columbus, New York, and D.C. United.  After a weak showing last year by MLS teams where only Houston had any success the pressure is on this year for better results.  Mexico was the dominant country in last years tournament. 

Atlante won it all and secured a berth in the 2010 FIFA Club World Cup after defeating Cruz Azul in an all Mexico final.

There is hope for TFC in this year's tournament, at least in the early stages. Canadian striker Ali Gerba had an excellent showing at the recent CONCACAF Gold Cup. His exciting style of play and his ability to finish will make these matches competitive and fun to watch for TFC fans. 

Puerto Rico should fear the extensive international experience of Canadians Dwayne De Rosario and Jim Brennan. Former MLS player of the year Amado Guevara, with his years of play as a Hounduran international, should provide a decisive edge in these first two matches.