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Union-Toronto FC Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- Goals could be difficult to come by when the worst teams in MLS, winless Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union, meet at BMO Field on Saturday.
Only Chivas USA has a worse rate of goals than Toronto FC (0-9-0), which has seven from nine games, and Philadelphia (2-6-2), which has eight from 10.
Toronto's nine-game losing streak is the worst start in MLS history, and more futility could transpire this weekend. Another defeat Saturday would cause Toronto to equal Real Salt Lake's mark of 10 straight regulation losses in 2005. The longest skid in league history is 12.
The home team, however, enters the weekend as a confident group after a 1-0 victory over Vancouver on Wednesday in the second leg of the Canadian Championship. It marked Toronto's fourth straight title in the domestic competition and earned the club a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.
"You lose nine games, all of a sudden you're a champion," goalkeeper Milos Kocic said. "It's kind of like a different mentality in the locker room now. You can hear everybody's happy, everybody's laughing. We need to celebrate. You need to feel happy inside."
Toronto improved to 3-0-3 against MLS teams in non-league games, and that success outside of MLS play continues to puzzle coach Aron Winter.
"I don't have a theory, I don't know," he said.
Toronto allowed its most goals in an MLS game the last time Philadelphia visited, a 6-2 victory for the Union on May 28. The visitors are wary of becoming TFC's first victim this season.
"They have no pressure on them, the only way they can look is up and that's definitely dangerous for us but just looking at ourselves, we need wins as well," Philadelphia defender Sheanon Williams said. "We can't really take anybody for granted, we're not sitting on top of the league looking down at everybody, we're still looking up as well."
Philadelphia ended a three-game losing streak with a 1-all road draw with FC Dallas last Saturday. Gabriel Gomez scored his team-high fourth goal.
Carlos Valdes, named the third captain in team history after the Union traded Danny Califf to Chivas on May 17, is questionable. Valdes played every minute of every game until he was taken off in the 78th minute last week after being bloodied in a collision.
Philadelphia, however, will have Freddy Adu back after the playmaker served a red-card suspension.
"We're going to Toronto with the intent we're going to get points if we play like we've been playing and we fight and we're aggressive," Williams said. "I think we have a good chance of getting a good result."
Reggie Lambe scored Toronto's goal Wednesday. He and Danny Koevermans, reprimanded for calling his club the "worst team in the world" following a 3-1 defeat to D.C. last Saturday, are the only players for TFC with two goals in MLS play.
"We just needed a win to get our confidence back up," Lambe said. "We need to go into Saturday playing the same way as we did today."
Updated May 25, 2012