Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Both Toronto FC and Seattle Sounders FC enter
Saturday's match at BMO Field riding modest two-game winning streaks.
But the biggest story by far is the expected debut of Seattle's Clint Dempsey,
who made the surprising move to leave Tottenham in the English Premier League
and return to Major League Soccer.
Dempsey completed the switch last Saturday and was unveiled to the Seattle
fans at halftime of the Sounders' 3-0 win over FC Dallas.
The arrival of Dempsey instantly upgrades what has been an inconsistent
Sounders team this season, but head coach Sigi Schmid has acknowledged that it
will still take a bit of time to figure out how Dempsey's arrival will alter
the style of the team.
"When you add a quality player, it makes you that much better as a team,"
Schmid said. "Where exactly and how we're going to play, that's something that
we're going to work out in the next few days on the training ground and in the
next three or four games as people get to understand each other and understand
their roles and how their roles maybe change a little bit."
Dempsey's last appearances in MLS came with the New England Revolution in
2006, and his first order of business will be to help the Sounders regain
their road form, which has been below par this season.
Seattle has been one of the better teams away from home over the past few
years, putting together a 24-18-22 mark on the road from 2009-12.
But Schmid's team has put together a 3-6-1 away mark this season, and with
three of the next four games away from CenturyLink Field, Seattle must turn
"We've just got to go out there with the same approach," Schmid said when
asked about what must be done to collect a few more points on the road. "We've
always gone out with the approach when we're on the road that we're going to
win the game."
The Sounders have won the last four meetings with Toronto, but TFC is poised
to end that streak and continue one of its own.
Head coach Ryan Nelsen saw his team collect back-to-back wins for the first
time since last July over the past two weeks with a 2-1 win over Columbus
followed by a 1-0 road victory at New England.
Toronto still sits in ninth place in the 10-team Eastern Conference, and is 13
points out of the final playoff spot, but Nelsen is viewing the past two
results as a step in the right direction, and that his young team is still
"Things don't happen overnight obviously and we are all learning from each
other and we're getting better and better," Nelsen said following the win over
New England. "We are a very young team and sometimes they have to go through
experiences in games."
The Sports Network