RSL braces for much-improved Toronto FC

SANDY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - After loading up with high-priced national team players like American Michael Bradley, Englishman Jermain Defoe and Brazlian goalkeeper Julio Cesar, Toronto FC has suddenly become one of the high-profile teams of MLS.

Real Salt Lake will get its first look at this new-look team, which is off to a 2-0-0 start for the first time in franchise history, Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium.

"It's a dangerous team with their new signings up top," said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. "They're exciting, they have a lot of energy and are dangerous."

"Obviously, they've made a lot of significant changes," said defender Chris Wingert. "They're off to a great start and it's going to be a real tough challenge for us on Saturday."

"Seems like that's kind of the recurring theme up there," added midfielder Kyle Beckerman. "It's a new team every year, but maybe they got it right this time."

Toronto boasts one of the higher payrolls in MLS now, but RSL has always played the high salary teams like the L.A. Galaxy and Seattle well.

"We're not too concerned with the salaries on Saturday," Wingert said. "We're just worried about trying to get a result here at home. I don't think it matters too much what their salary cap is at except for the fact that they have a lot of good players."

"We always play with a chip on our shoulder," said Beckerman. "We're a small-market team and feel like we have to go out of the ordinary to get recognized. When you can win a game against a team with high-profile players, that will definitely help."

RSL comes into the match undefeated as well, with a victory and a draw against the Galaxy and a draw at San Jose. RSL will once again be shorthanded as Joao Plata joins a growing list of injured forwards that already consists of Robbie Findley, Devon Sandoval and Jordan Allen. That leaves Alvaro Saborio and Olmes Garcia as the only completely healthy strikers.

"It's a concern, but I'm looking at it as an opportunity," said Cassar. "It's an opportunity for Garcia, and Devon was back at full training today, so that's a good sign. So, we have options, and I'm happy with them."

While Cassar would love to have the full nine points, he is happy with the way his team has performed early in the season.

"I think teams are fearing playing against us because we've been playing a little bit more physical than we have," he said. "I think once we get a full rotation of the players, the soccer will get better. But I'm really happy with the fight of the players right now."

RSL and Toronto FC will play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night on ABC 4.

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