Friday, August 8, 2008

Blame Canada!

Coming off a booing of the Star Spangled Banner by the Toronto fans at the All-Star Game Toronto FC comes into The Dick tomorrow. Special early kickoff at 2pm.

Here's the injury report:

OUT: GK Justin Hughes (L groin); DF Jordan Harvey (R knee); PROBABLE: FW Tom McManus (L knee)

DISCIPLINE: Suspended after 2 more yellow cards - Colin Clark, Pablo Mastroeni

My lineup prediction:

Bouna Time!
Ihemelu - Petke - Erpen
Cooke - Pablo - C.Gomez - LaBrocca - Clark
McManus - Casey

I agree with those who think Clavijo believes he has to have 2 holding mids behind C.Gomez. I think with Petke off the DL and ready to go we'll see Pablo back in his natural d-mid position. hopefully McManus is ready to go, otherwise I think we'll see H.Gomez. I'd rather see DiRaimondo in as the second holding mid, with both Pablo and Petke on the back line and Erpen on the bench.

Critical Matchup: Casey & McManus vs. Toronto defense

Toronto has no offense at this point. Dichio is questionable for the game, Guevara is suspended, Edu is in Beijing, Cunningham was just traded to Dallas, and Barret just got to the Great White North. There's no reason to get anything but a shutout in this game. The key will be putting goals into the back of the net, something the Rapids have struggled with in past games. We need one of the forwards step up and get more shots on target.

Keys To Look For:

  • Can we avoid giving up the stupid goal? I can't remember the last time I watched somebody score against he Rapids and thought it was good play instead of a bonehead move by us, usually by Erpen or Ihemelu.

  • Please score in the first half, I beg you

  • The next two weeks are must win games. After the KC game we go on the road to three tough places to play. Does the team play like it realizes the urgency of the game?

  • Casey needs to move more in the box, especially when Cookie or Clark are lining up crosses.

  • Is Bouna Time! back, or is he still struggling?

  • Clavijo needs to realize that a draw isn't good enough, and push for a winner late if necessary.

Prediction: 2-0 win. I'm not sure Toronto will have the legs to survive at altitude, especially considering their injuries, suspensions, and international absences. If we can't win this game then we might as well start playing our reserve team for experience, because this season is over.

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