Metro Morning

Toronto FC 'ready to battle' in MLS Cup, former star Dwayne De Rosario says

Dwayne De Rosario felt the glory of lifting the MLS Cup four times during his soccer career, but never with Toronto FC.

TFC takes on Seattle Sounders FC for league championship at BMO Field on Saturday

This Toronto FC team has what it takes to win an MLS Cup, former star Dwayne De Rosario said. But on Saturday, 'it's all about who comes out to play.' (Vaughn Ridley/Getty)

Dwayne De Rosario felt the glory of lifting the MLS Cup four times during his soccer career, but never with Toronto FC.

He's retired from professional soccer now, but De Rosario is still a TFC ambassador. He is gearing up for Saturday's championship game against the Seattle Sounders — game time is 8 p.m. at BMO Field — more like a player than a casual fan.

"The day of the final, it's about who comes out to play," De Rosario told CBC Toronto's Metro Morning.

"We have to go out there ready to compete, ready to battle."

De Rosario's time with Toronto FC, from 2009 to 2011, was marked by disappointment. The team managed to win the Canadian Championship all three years, but couldn't make it into the MLS playoffs.

Dwayne De Rosario said it'll be important for Toronto FC's players to stay focused as they prepare for the MLS Cup. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
De Rosario said missing the playoffs left the players and fans alike "a little empty." Having the final in Toronto now and all of the excitement that comes along with it — the travelling die-hard fans, a swirling pack of soccer media and all the promotion ahead of the big game — will be a boon for soccer in the city, he said.

"Oh man, I wish I was in there," said De Rosario.

Instead, Toronto FC will be led into the championship by a mix of international stars and eight players who grew up in the Greater Toronto Area.

De Rosario, who also had a stellar international career with the Canadian team, said he believes the team has the right mentality to capture the championship. But he's urging the players to not read too much into reports that peg them as favourites heading into the MLS Cup.

A title for Toronto would be a "dream come true," he admits. But there's 90 minutes of soccer to play first. 

A Toronto FC championship would be huge for die-hard fans and the next generations of soccer players growing up in the GTA, Dwayne De Rosario said. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty)

With files from Metro Morning