There are many possible endings for Toronto FC in Wednesday's CCL game in Los Angeles. if either side wins the leg they're through, a low scoring tie would be good for the Galaxy, while a tie of 3-3 or more would give TFC the unlikely away goals victory. And then there's 2-2, a very real possibility that would set up the alarming ending of a penalty shootout.
My first thought is that if this happens we're screwed. Though I'm sure it must have happened by now, I can't for the life of me think of a TFC goalie ever saving a penalty (and no I'm not including shootouts from pointless friendly games), and certainly not Stefan Frei, who I'd expect to be in goal again on Wednesday.
But putting such pessimism aside, it leads to an interesting question, who'd take Toronto's penalties? Mental strength plays as big a part as goalscoring ability in these situations (see, England versus pretty much anybody) so there's been plenty of unlikely penalty specialists over the years. There's few TFC players I've seen take penalties, and of course we've no idea who'd be on the pitch after 120 minutes, so this is all very speculative (and often quite unfair) but after the jump I take a look at how I feel those with a chance to be out there at the end of extra time might do and pick a top 5. Let us know who'd be your choice.
Starting from the back:
Frei: It's unlikely he'd be anywhere near the top 5, but could Frei embrace his inner Campos or Chilavert and nail a penalty if we went deep into sudden death? I think he would.
Eckersley: English, so no.
Harden: I like Harden, there's plenty of good things he brings, but I really can't see this ending well. No.
Aceval: Free kick specialist, I think that'd translate well to penalty taker, he's a definite yes.
Morgan: He's had a great start to the season, but I wouldn't want to put the youngster in that situation. No
Frings: German. Nuff said. Yes
De Guzman: Happy that de Guzman will be back, but despite all his big game experience with Canada, and in La Liga, I can't see anything other than him bottling it. No.
Silva: Rookie, pressure, blah blah, blah, this kid can flat out score. Yes.
Johnson: I can see it now, powerful, top corner. Yes
Koevermans: Experienced Centre Forward, natural goalscorer, everything says yes. Until you remember he's Dutch, and if my Bumper Book Of British Footballing Stereotypes About Johnny Foreigner tells me anything, it's that the Dutch are terrible at penalties. I might even back England to beat Holland at penalties. Seriously. So if he's still on the pitch after 120 minutes, I'll go with yes, but with a heavy side of second guessing and impending doom.
Plata: He's got the temperament for it, no question, he wouldn't be hiding, but I've not been terribly impressed with his penalties, I'll give him a hesitant fingers crossed yes.
Soolsma: Despite what I said earlier about the Dutch, I think Soolsma'd be fine. His twice taken, twice scored penalty against Vancouver last year showed an admirable lack of nerves. Low, bottom corner, goalie no chance. Yes.
Dunfield: No real reason I can give but I really don't think Dunfield would score. I don't think he'd miss, but I could see him giving the goalie a nice easy one to save.
Stinson: Opposite of Dunfield. No real reason to it, but i think he'd stick it home no problem.
Lambe: I have 0 confidence Lambe would score. No.
My order to take the first 5, (obviously depending on who's on the pitch when it happens):
Frings, Koevermans, Aceval, Soolsma, Johnson.