Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - New-look Toronto FC will head to CenturyLink
Field on Saturday for a marquee clash with Seattle Sounders FC.
Toronto, long-time doormat in MLS, strengthened its squad considerably in the
offseason, adding the likes of Michael Bradley, Jermain Defoe, Dwayne De
Rosario, Justin Morrow, Julio Cesar and Jackson.
With such major acquisitions come added pressure, but Tim Bezbatchenko,
Toronto's General Manager, welcomes the challenge.
"I think everyone is just motivated to win and do better," Bezbatchenko told
reporters at TFC's media day. "Last year and the last few years have been
unacceptable to the organization and to our board. You can see the passion of
the players with what they have done over the offseason and the way they have
come back fit and ready to go. They know it is a new ball game here.
"I'm very comfortable with the high expectations. Everyone is shooting for us
and that is one of the reasons that I wanted to come to TFC in the first
place, to do something different with the situation, where instead of being at
the bottom, we're at the top and everybody else is trying to catch up to us.
Now we haven't done anything yet, but in terms of what we have done over the
offseason, we have set it up and hopefully we take advantage of all the
The Sounders, meanwhile, are flying high after stealing three points from
their opening fixture of the season. Seattle's contest with Sporting Kansas
City was scoreless until the dying minutes when newcomer Chad Barrett
capitalized on a scramble in the box to poke home the winner from close range.
Normally, Barrett's heroics would lead to some increased attention heading
into the next match. But the big story Saturday's contest figures to be the
five World Cup stars from three different countries that potentially could
start the match.
Bradley, Toronto's midfield stalwart, is a surefire starter for the United
States, as is Clint Dempsey, assuming the Sounders attacker maintains his
form. Add Toronto's Julio Cesar of Brazil and Defoe of England, as well as
Seattle's Brad Evans, into the mix and it's easy to see the growth of MLS.
"The league has grown considerably," Dempsey told the club's official website.
"It makes it more exciting for the fans and also for the players because
that's what you want. You want this to be the best league possible because
this is where you're from."