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Toronto still alive in CONCACAF Champions League

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Sometimes, taking Old Yeller out behind the barn is the right call.

It was time for the beloved doggie Old Yeller in a book and movie from another day.

I get that feeling with Toronto FC. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Paul Mariner’s men are in El Salvador tonight to meet CD Aguila (Fox Soccer Channel, 10 p.m. ET). TFC can extend its relevancy in CONCACAF Champions League only through all three points tonight against the Salvadorans. And given Aguila’s relative strength, not to mention TFC’s tendency to find their best selves in tournament competition this year, it could happen.

But so what?

Because a win tonight in El Salvador only keeps the Canadians alive in the Champions League proceedings. From there, maintaining a heartbeat gets to be something just this side of impossible.

At that point, Mariners men would need to prevail over Mexico’s powerful Santos Laguna in Mexico in a month’s time. But there’s more! TFC would need to win by more than two goals!

Not. Gonna. Happen.

Said Mariner: “It’s pretty plain to see what we have to do. It’s a tall order.”

I fully expect TFC to go into El Salvador and make a decent account. Heck, they may even win. They did whup Aguila pretty good (5-1) in Canada six weeks ago.

Mariner, attempting to establish a culture of effort at the very least in this lost season (the latest lost season, that is, around BMO Field), will demand that his team fights all the way through.

And yet, I just can’t shake the feeling that, secretly, everyone associated with TFC just wants this season of misery to be over.