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Toronto FC-Impact Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- After falling short in its attempt to make history earlier this week, Toronto FC will try to soothe any lingering disappointment with its first MLS win.
Toronto will seek that victory as it visits one of its national rivals, the also-winless Montreal Impact, on Saturday afternoon.
Toronto was seeking to become the first Canadian team to reach the CONCACAF Champions League final Wednesday when it visited Mexican club Santos Laguna.
Joao Plata gave his team a lead with each of his two goals, but Toronto FC couldn't take command in the finale of its two-leg semifinal series. Santos Laguna pulled away for a 6-2 victory and advanced on a 7-3 two-legged aggregate.
"The boys can definitely get on the bus with their heads held high. We did great to get here," said midfielder Terry Dunfield, whose team upset defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles in the quarterfinals. "It hurts not getting to the finals."
Toronto (0-3-0) will try to bounce back by avoiding its second 0-4 start in its six-year history. It lost its first four games during its inaugural 2007 campaign.
"We have to focus on the league now, that´s what we have," forward Nick Soolsma said. "I'm very disappointed at this moment, but we have to focus on the next game."
That next game will take place at Olympic Stadium, the Impact's temporary home until Saputo Stadium is ready a visit from Seattle on June 16. The expansion side heads into its second home game at 0-4-1 and suffered its third straight defeat Wednesday, 1-0 at Real Salt Lake.
RSL scored its only goal on a penalty kick in the 13th minute, and Montreal was shut out for the third time in its five matches. Philadelphia - idle this weekend - is the only other winless team in the league besides the two competitors at Olympic Stadium.
"We battled for each other and we played some really good soccer in a place that is hard to play in on the road," coach Jesse Marsch told the team's website. "It hurts us all because the results are not going our way, but we are getting closer and closer.
"There is such a strong belief in what we are doing here, and we are going to get over that hump very soon."
The Impact will try to do that by taking advantage of short-handed Toronto. Starting goalkeeper Stefan Frei is out for the next four to six months because of ankle surgery and as many as six other players could be out for this match.
Montreal is relatively healthy as it tries to earn at least one point for the second time in as many home matches. The Impact played to a 1-all tie during its home debut against Chicago on March 17.
Updated April 5, 2012