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TORONTO -- All the stars have arrived. Now the work can really begin. Jermain Defoe practised with Toronto FC for the first time Monday, and declared himself "100 per cent" healthy and keen to start when the club opens its Major League Soccer season on Saturday in Seattle. "Its been a long time talking about it and stuff, so to actually get over (to Canada) and put my boots on and start playing, training. . . its good," Defoe said. "It feels good. Obviously a little bit strange when you first come in, but the lads have been fantastic. Good training session. I feel sharp. So yeah, happy." The 31-year-old striker had been battling a nagging hamstring injury, and didnt play in what would have been his farewell game for Tottenham Hotspur on Feb. 27 at White Hart Lane. Toronto coach Ryan Nelsen said hell wait and see how quickly Defoe adapts to his new teammates this week before deciding if he will start. "Hopefully," Nelsen said. "Weve obviously got to get him up to speed with everything, but if hes fit and raring to go it will be hard to turn down a player of that quality." Some two dozen journalists turned out to Torontos training ground just north of the city to watch the clubs biggest star practise. At one end of the pitch, the five-foot-six striker in electric-blue cleats took turns with Andrew Wiedeman and fellow newcomer Michael Bradley firing shots on Torontos goalkeepers. Defoe shook hands with his teammates, he applauded their efforts. He then dropped to the pitch for a series of crunches, and was the last player off the field. Nelsen practically scoffed when asked how Defoe did. "He was awful. Hes done," the coach said, prompting much laughter. "Again, he came in on Saturday, so we just have to be careful, just with the artificial field and a flight," Nelsen added. "Hes still got that goofy smile, and still enjoys it in the back of the net. Thats all Im worried about." Defoe missed Torontos off-season due to commitments to Tottenham and England. He was the last player to arrive among a group of key off-season acquisitions that included American Michael Bradley, Brazilians Gilberto and Julio Cesar, and Dwayne De Rosario, whos back in Toronto after three seasons with New York Red Bulls and D.C. United. "To see (Defoe) in the locker-room this morning, now its like, alright we can start now," Bradley said. Gilberto, who has been slowed by a quadricep injury, believes it wont take long to develop chemistry with the England striker. "Now that everybody is here, were able to connect, get the chemistry working together as a team, and hopefully within the week well be ready to go," Gilberto said through an interpreter. "I think the chemistry will work right away, Toronto has got no time to wait." Defoe left Spurs with 143 goals to his credit, behind only Cliff Jones (159), Martin Chivers (174), Bobby Smith (208) and the legendary Jimmy Greaves (266) in the club record book. He was sidelined by the hamstring injury when he said his farewell to the fans at White Hart Lane late last month during halftime of a Europa League match against FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. Defoe was on the bench for Englands friendly against Denmark last Wednesday at Wembley but didnt get a chance to earn a 56th cap in the 1-0 win over Denmark. He said "obviously" it would help if he had participated in Torontos pre-season, but added that "hopefully in training they will understand how I play, and vice versa, and it will be OK." Defoe was asked if he had concerns about playing on the artificial turf Saturday in Seattle, and he said that even practising on artificial turf might take some getting used to. Torontos indoor training is on turf, and with no warm weather in sight, it remains to be seen when the team can head outdoors to the pristine grass practice pitches. "Obviously its not something Im used to, to be honest, and even training today, it was the first time in years where Ive actually trained on this kind of surface," Defoe said. "But again, I suppose its something youre going to have to get used to. And you cant really make excuses because its the same for both teams. Same for all the players. Its something you get used to, I suppose its just part and parcel to travelling away and playing on these kind of pitches." Nelsen said the artificial pitch at Seattles CenturyLink Field may determine who plays and for how long on Saturday. "You get the travel, and then you get, not just an artificial field, its a bad artificial field. Its not like this one," Nelsen said. "Its like playing one-and-a-half. . .one-and-three-quarter games in terms of damage to your body. So weve got guys who are healthy but just dont have that hardness of fitness under them, which is a concern." This past Saturday, New York held Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave out of the Red Bulls opener versus the Whitecaps on the turf in Vancouver. Nelsen cautioned it may take some time for the newcomers to develop on-field chemistry, but pointed out the pedigree of his players will help hasten the process. "Theres no magical formula, its not like switching on a light," the coach said. "But when youve got good guys, good character, and good winning mentality, they want to learn. And everybody knows their roles. The right back on this team knows what the strikers are doing, and vice versa. So when everybody knows everybodys jobs it comes quicker." Defoe said he has no concerns about getting to know his new teammates. "Obviously its important around the training ground trying to get to know each individual and how they play," he said. "But I suppose off the pitch is important, getting to know your teammates, because you become a family. So I think thats important, but thats obviously thats something Ill do around the training ground." After the flurry of off-season signings, Defoe and Nelsen shoulder lofty expectations from fans and a front office gunning for the teams first playoff appearance. "The way I deal with it is, weve got a great bunch of guys, theyre all hardworking, they all want to win, well be very well-organized, and weve got players that can turn games," Nelsen said. "So do I worry at night when I go to bed? No, of course not. Its because of those reasons. Youre either going to win and youre going to lose, but what I can tell is all the variables and all the stuff that happens amongst a team Im really happy with. So I can sleep at night very, very well." Defoe, who has scored 19 goals for England, is also hoping to earn a spot in Roy Hodgsons World Cup squad. His competition includes Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck of Manchester United, Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez of Southampton and Andy Carroll of West Ham. "Obviously its at the back of my mind, but first and foremost its important to concentrate on your club, and make sure your form is good," Defoe said. "As a forward you get judged on scoring goals. I think thats on my mind first and foremost, and then well see what happens with World Cup." England has three friendlies left before the World Cup -- Peru at Wembley on May 30 before games in Miami against Ecuador and Honduras Cheap Swingman Grizzlies Jerseys . "Yes, Id like to get them in," Detroits rookie manager said. "Mother Natures going to have a say in that." Sure enough, the Tigers had their game against the Kansas City Royals postponed because of rain on Thursday. 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Joe Pavelski had a hat trick to move into a tie for second in the NHL in goals and the Sharks beat Philadelphia 7-3 Thursday night in the first game for both teams following the Olympic break.MONTREAL - The Montreal Impact face a tough task this weekend as they try and turn their season around. Bottom-of-the-table Montreal (1-4-6) welcomes Major League Soccers hottest team, the streaking New England Revolution, to Saputo Stadium on Saturday, and the encounter comes at a bad time for the Impact. Catch all the action on TSN2 and TSN 690 starting at 7pm et/4pm pt. Montreals season-long woes are seemingly without remedy. The team is racking up the league-lows: they have seven points from 11 games, own a minus-13 goal differential, and have scored just four times on home soil. The Revolution (7-2-3), meanwhile, are riding a five-game win streak, their longest since 2005. A victory against the Impact would tie the club record for most consecutive wins. Sitting pretty atop the Eastern Conference standings, the Revs are four points clear of second-place Sporting KC with a game in hand. The team is also unbeaten in its last seven games, outscoring its opponents 16-5 over that stretch. New England scored five goals in two of its last three contests. But the red-hot Revs arent getting complacent. Midfielder Chris Tierney knows the Impacts unfavourable position at the bottom of the standings could make them more dangerous. "Montreal, theyre a good team. Its the same team that put together a really solid run last year," he told the teams website from Foxborough, Mass., on Thursday. "Theyve got plenty of dangerous players and were going to have to go to their place, which is a tough place to play." Tierney is one of eight Revolution players to have scored during the clubs five-game winning stretch. He scored his first goal of the season in New Englands 5-3 road romp over Philadelphia on May 17. "Were not expecting to go there and win 5-0," he said of Saturdays matchup. "Its going to be a tough game for us and were going to have to have our best stuff to come out with a result." And some of New Englands best stuff during the streak is coming courtesy of two young forwards. Diego Fagundez, 19, and rookie Patrick Mullins, 22, have combined for eight goals and three assists in the last five games. In contrast, the entire Impact squad have only scored nine times during the season. "Mullins and I are working very well with each other," Uruguayan-born Fagundez told the teams website last weekend. "We are moving off the ball wwell and are making good runs.dddddddddddd As long as we keep playing like this, more goals will come." In New Englands last contest, Fagundez scored the winner in the 77th minute of a 2-1 home victory over D.C. United. Mullins netted the opening goal and became only the second rookie in MLS history to score in four consecutive games. "(Mullins) has a great awareness of where he needs to be, where the ball is," Revolution coach Jay Heaps told reporters after that game. "You have to have a knack for it. Hes done it his whole life and hes just now finding hes good enough to do it at this level." The rookie will look to take advantage of a Montreal back-line that concedes a league-worst two goals per game, and that gave up four on the road to the Colorado Rapids in their last MLS outing. The defensive four might get a boost from Matteo Ferraris return from injury. Ferrari injured his calf in a pre-game warmup last month, and hasnt played since Apr. 26. His return is still questionable for Saturday. Montreal will also be looking to build on a solid mid-week performance on the road versus Toronto FC in the Amway Canadian Championship final. Justin Mapp scored a beautiful left-footed strike from just outside the 18-yard box in the 73rd minute to give the Impact a 1-1 draw and a much-need away goal. "Thats the kind of thing that can change the season really quickly," said defender Heath Pearce from Montreal on Tuesday, before the cup tie. "It can bring a whole other dynamic to whats been a difficult season so far. Weve been facing adversity the whole season, from the start." The return leg of the Canadian Championship goes June 4 at Saputo Stadium, where the Impact will look to defend their Voyageurs Cup, and claim the title for the third time. Aggregate score will determine who will represent Canada in the next CONCACAF Champions League. Notes: Striker Jack McInerney has scored four times against New England in nine career appearances, including three game winners in 2012 and 2013. … New England has never lost at Saputo Stadium (2-0). … The Revs are unbeaten when scoring first (6-0) and when leading at halftime (3-0). … Montreals recent acquisition Issey Nakajima-Farran will likely make his Saputo Stadium debut versus the Revs. … The Impact and Revolution will face off twice more this season. ' ' '

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