The sudden passing of Kirk Urso will surely be on the minds and in the hearts of Crew players and staff as the team returns to action Saturday night against Toronto FC. Despite the week of mourning, when the whistle blows Saturday night, the Black & Gold will be focused on the task at hand.
"We are focused when we are on the field and we know we have a game on Saturday," head coach Robert Warzycha said after the team's training session at Crew Stadium on Thursday morning. "Everyone is getting along with their business."
"It's going to be hard," midfielder Milovan Mirosevic added. "It's going to be hard for the team since we lost the last game and for sure, most of all, because of the difficult week. Everyone has been suffering."
The Crew beat Toronto FC back on March 31in the opening match of the 2012 Trillium Cup series behind Bernardo Anor's 56th minute strike to finish a counter attack sprung from Mirosevic's slide tackle on Julian de Guzman.
De Guzman will not be with the team on Saturday after he was traded to FC Dallas last month. The Designated Player's departure is one of many changes to Toronto FC's roster after the club lost its first nine matches of the season. TFC is under new leadership after Paul Mariner replaced Aron Winter in June. The team has also brought in former Vancouver Whitecaps FC striker Eric Hassli and Ireland International Darren O'Dea. With the changes, the Reds are 5-4-4 in the club's last 13 matches.
"It's a completely different team," Mirosevic said. "They've had better results since the beginning of the year."
"There's a lot of new players and different players, so I think they made the team better," Warzycha agreed. "It's not going to be an easy game."
Though TFC's leading goalscorer, Danny Koevermans, is out for the season with a knee injury, the Crew defense will have a tall task in keeping Hassli and Jamaican striker Ryan Johnson scoreless.
"[Toronto] is playing differently, with different players," Crew captain Chad Marshall said. "They've got two big, athletic guys up top who will be a handful, we're going to have to be good in all facets of the game."
With its past two matches coming on the road in Kansas City and Washington, D.C., Marshall and his teammates look forward to returning Crew Stadium.
"Coming back [to Crew Stadium], we want to play our game more: possess the ball more to get it to our attacking players, find Dilly [Duka], find Milo [Mirosevic], find Eddie [Gaven], and impose ourselves more," Marshall explained.
Mirosevic agreed, "We have to put pressure on them from the first minute. It's our home, so we have to show that way from the very beginning."
The match kicks off at 7:30PM EST Saturday night. Kirk Urso will be honored with a moment of silence and video prematch. In addition, a floral wreath featuring Kirk's image will be displayed in front of the Lamar Hunt statue at Founder’s Park located on the Crew Stadium plaza. Fans are encouraged to pay respects and leave remembrances, which will then be delivered to the Urso family.