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Major League Soccer
MLS Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, March 22, 2014 (All times Eastern)

D.C. United (0-1-0) at Toronto FC (1-0-0), 4:30 p.m.

Toronto, ON ( - Toronto FC will aim to make it two consecutive wins to start the season on Saturday when the Reds open the home portion of their schedule against D.C. United at BMO Field.

After a big offseason which saw the club land England international Jermain Defoe and U.S. international Michael Bradley, the re-tooled Toronto side delivered on the hype and earned a 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC last Saturday at CenturyLink Field.

It took just 16 minutes for Defoe to open his MLS account against Sounders FC as he found a gap the Seattle back line and was put through on goal by a Jonathan Osorio pass before calmly sliding it past former TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

The former Tottenham man struck again in the 24th minute when he intercepted a poor back pass from Marco Pappa, went in alone and fired it past Frei again.

Clint Dempsey pulled one back for Seattle in the second half, but Toronto's back line held firm to help the club earn its first-ever win on opening day.

"That was Jermain Defoe," Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen told the league's official website. "Let's just say I'm not surprised. When the ball falls in those situations, he puts them away. That's why we brought him in. I was hoping he'd get in those scenarios and he got in them."

Nelsen was also pleased with Bradley's performance in his TFC debut:

"What Michael brings is an absolute energy," the manager said. "His character, his confidence, is infectious on people. He made Seattle turn over the ball a lot of times. He got into very nice positions.

"You need character and strength to battle what the opposition throw at you and Michael was right in the middle of everything."

D.C. United, meanwhile, also went through a rebuild in the offseason bringing in U.S. international Eddie Johnson and Fabian Espindola up top, along with a completely remade defense with Jeff Park, Bobby Boswell, Sean Franklin and Christian Fernandez.

But in United's season opener against Columbus on March 8, the new pieces failed to jell as the club was trounced, 3-0, at RFK Stadium by the Columbus Crew.

Jairo Arrieta opened the scoring for Columbus in the 18th minute and the visitors doubled their advantage three minutes before the half hour mark when Federico Higuain buried a penalty kick.

Higuain then sealed the points for Columbus when he completed a brace in the 90th minute.

"I thought we would be in better shape than we were today, but we have two weeks to get back to work," D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen said. "I know we can still strike at any time. I think that we were just a little bit off in some of the final things that really mattered tonight, and that was on the offensive end. Defensively, we struggled to deal with how many numbers the Crew threw at us. I thought they did a very good job at offsetting us. We didn't handle it so well in the first half."

In three meetings between the sides last season, Toronto topped United twice, with D.C. earning a 1-1 draw with TFC on Aug. 24.

03/21 17:13:50 ET

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