If there was ever a winnable match for Toronto FC, tomorrow's against DC United should be it - right? Yes, this is our Reds we're talking about; and yes there's still all that lovely subtext that goes on between the two teams - now we can both share Payne-ful stories! - but honestly; if TFC can't beat the DCU reserve/academy team then we're doomed.
As fans - even in the depths of our cynicism and growing apathy - we're still looking for any small shred of evidence that this team might be improving. Just one little thing for us to look at as a reason or justification for seven long years of loyalty and support. We're not asking for much - hell, we're not even asking for little - we just want to see a bloody win, at home. Even though it has zero bearing on the season we'll grasp that straw because we are drowning and hey, a win just might keep some of us afloat for another season.
Really, what other games of the final four look winnable? Two away games to teams fighting to get a playoff spot and Montreal - although who isn't hoping for a serious Impact smackdown in a month? DCU are our last best hope to get some points (and a win) to just barely better last season's record for futility. Fun!
What makes this game winnable? Other than DCU being worse than our Reds that is? Well, unlike TFC they've actually still got something to play for - not in MLS of course - but they will be taking on RSL on Tuesday night in the USOC Final. Ben Olsen has been quite open about the fact that his regulars will be resting tomorrow; and rumour is that many won't even be making the trip to Toronto - this should spell advantage TFC. For once we the fans don't have to pick what minute of the match DeRo is going to score, or wait to see if Luis Silva will get his revenge in front of his former home crowd. Of course this is our TFC and well, they do like to find new ways to delight (i.e. torture) us.
Who isn't excited about seeing the combination of Doneil Henry and Gale Agbossoumonde fend off whoever DC throws at them? Not to mention the excitement of the patented Bright Dike/Andrew Wiedeman strike partnership testing Bill Hamid! And how about that midfield? *crickets* Feel the excitement people!
As much fun (OK, not really) as it is to laugh (or cry) at Toronto's current starting XI, they are arguably the better side - I'll pause while you collapse into howls of laughter. On any other day and for any other game I wouldn't type those words, but tomorrow? Honestly, even without the likes of Jonathan Osorio, Matias Laba and Stephen Caldwell (or any of those pesky scoring types - looking at you Koef, how's the calf injury?), they should be able to take this.
So what to watch in this game? Well we get to play the "who's coaching TFC today" game - is it Jimmy B (he's had every other job). Is it Duncan Oughton? Or is it Jason Bent? While it's likely Jason Bent who gets the call, who among you would be surprised to see Jimmy B in charge tomorrow? Yeah, me neither.
This is another game for Alvaro Rey to try to prove his 200K+ price tag is worth the cap hit; although he's playing without the two teammates that likely compliment his game best in Osorio and Laba he's been playing well of late and this could be a good game for him to do some damage. Really the other main player question is will Richard "No ordinary fullback" Eckersley play or will Michael Bloom once again get the start? Oh the late season drama!
It's a good thing that Ryan Nelsen won't be available to coach as he'd likely be a bit distracted by Saturday's other main event - the President's Breakfast! That's right boys and girls, it's time for a TFC Very Special Breakfast with Tim Leiweke, Tim Bezbatchenko (Big Tim and Little Tim) and Ryan Nelsen answering all your questions about TFC over pancakes (I'm just assuming that there will be pancakes) and coffee. I'll be in attendance (and bringing you the dirt such as it is) afterwards - but boy it's good that Nelsen didn't have something else he needed to do tomorrow afternoon, right?
But really folks; breakfast distractions and USOC depleted lineups aside this really is likely the last time this season that you can come out to BMO and see a win - and boy oh boy, wouldn't that be nice? I'll take a grind it out, ugly, mistake laden affair if it means three points and another win - it's been a long seven months (years), anything resembling positivity at the end of this season would be welcome. So, see you tomorrow?