TFC is looking to take the game to Canadian rivals Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night.
VANCOUVER – Entering hostile territory does not seem to bother the 2014 edition of Toronto FC, despite the club's lack of success in Vancouver over the years.
Since 2008, The Reds have never won on Canada's west coast, with Vancouver Whitecaps FC holding a 3W-0L-4D record in all competitions going into Wednesday's decisive second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal series at BC Place.
TFC holds a 2-1 aggregate lead following last week's first-leg win, even though a young Whitecaps side earned the plaudits for a creditable away result versus a near first-choice Reds line-up. With Vancouver scoring an away goal late on at BMO Field last Wednesday, Toronto knows its in for a difficult night at BC Place, despite having the past weekend off from MLS action.
"As the game evolves, it will probably end up dictating to both teams of how they play," said Toronto FC head coach Ryan Nelsen after Tuesday's training session at BC Place. "But we're looking forward to it. It's an opportunity for guys (to play)."
Nelsen is expected to make changes to his starting XI, with a crucial MLS home encounter versus the New York Red Bulls to follow on Saturday afternoon. Though his team faces two matches in three days, TFC captain Steven Caldwell is determined to reach the final.
"We're focused on finishing the job off," said the Reds centre back. "We were in such a good position (at 2-0) in Toronto, then we let a late goal slip in, which we were disappointed about, but it's gone now. We have the lead and we're going to try and take the game to Vancouver and look to score goals, not just protect our lead. It should be an exciting game."
Nelsen will have Jermain Defoe in consideration, with the experienced goalscorer likely in the mood to prove his worth after being left in "shock" over his exclusion from England's 23-man FIFA World Cup squad on Monday.
"It's going to be a good game. They're a good team," Defoe said of the Whitecaps. "The first game was difficult, but we won that. We go into it 2-1 up, so we'll see what happens."
Michael Bradley, meanwhile, will be making his last TFC appearance for some time, as the midfielder is set to join Jurgen Klinsmann's United States squad for World Cup preparations after the second leg.
With Wednesday's game on artificial turf at BC Place, the 26-year-old admitted the midweek contest deserves a better playing surface for the occasion. "If you ask anybody, playing on turf changes things. It changes the game," Bradley said. "But it is what it is, so it does you no good to complain about it or feel sorry for yourself. When the whistle blows tomorrow night, both teams are playing on the same field."
TFC will be without Jeremy Hall (calf) for Wednesday's match, while Spaniard Alvaro Rey (hamstring) is unlikely to appear versus the 'Caps. With Bradley set to depart for World Cup duty with the Americans, Nelsen has recalled midfielder Daniel Lovitz from his loan spell at the club's USL PRO affiliate Wilmington Hammerheads FC.