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Islanders Stand Between Toronto and Crew Again , July 29th, 2009 3:02PM



Toronto FC might have another shot at its rival, the Columbus Crew, which came from behind to deal Toronto a devastating 3-2 loss on Saturday in MLS play. On Wednesday (Fox Soccer Channel, 8 pm ET), Toronto begins a two-legged series with the USL's Puerto Rico Islanders in the Concacaf Champions League to advance to the group play stage against Saprissa and the Columbus Crew.

Due to the tiebreaking value of away goals in the Champions League format, Toronto interim coach Chris Cummins has emphasized defending ahead the home game against the Islanders. "We've got to defend better than we did on the weekend, get that out of our systems and get another victory on the scoresheet," Cummins said. "Scoring goals is not an issue for us. We can score goals away or at home. The problem is we need to start keeping [shutout]. The key target for this game is a [shutout], since if away goals come into it it's going to be massive."

Toronto qualified for the Champions League in unlikely fashion, exploding for a 6-1 win over Montreal when it needed at least a four-goal victory in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship. "We want to go out there and show that we're the best team in Canada and that we deserve to be in it," Cummins said. "We know we need to be at the top of our game as well. They're a big, strong, athletic team and they'll be looking to come, sit back and hit us on the counter ... so we need to be tuned in. It's a cup final for them. We saw it against Montreal and Vancouver, everyone wants to beat MLS teams. It'd be the same if I was working for a lower-league club. They've got nothing to lose. They'll come in, have a go and if they get something out of the game they'll be over the moon. As long as we're professional and we match their energy and aggression, then hopefully our qualities will come out on top."


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