With all the games TFC is playing in July, and the fatigue related rotation that may be required from that, the last thing TFC needed was more enforced absences. It's already been shown that Michael Bradley isn't the 'machine' some people want to portray him as and is in fact a human being in need of rest every now and then, hopefully he's back soon, but most of all let's hope he doesn't convince Ryan Nelsen to rush him back ahead of time.
There was no news today on whether he'd be fit for either of this week's games, but there was news of another hit to the starting lineup. Steven Caldwell left Saturday's game injured and it was confirmed today that he suffered a quad tear and will be out a while. He'll undergo a scan to find out the severity, but Ryan Nelsen told reporters it's likely to be 'several weeks' before he's back.
That's bad news no matter what you think of Caldwell and his impact on the pitch will be missed. TFC have played 2 league games without him this season due to suspensions, oddly enough both against Columbus and both times they won. To go without the main organisational defensive presence for an extended period of tiem is an entirely different proposition though, even if the possibility of handball penalties and free kicks does go down dramatically as well.
The big question is, who replaces him? In the first of those games mentioned above, Bradley Orr and Nick Hagglund got a clean sheet in a 2-0 win, the second time Hagglund and Doneil Henry were paired up and TFC just scraped a 3-2 win.
Given the amount of games, there'll probably be some rotation between those 3 players, maybe with Justin Morrow filling in in an emergency. Maybe Ryan Richter gets called back from Ottawa to provide cover, and we'd better see significant minutes for some academy defenders against Tottenham next week.
I'd imagine that Nelsen will start Bradley Orr alongside one of the two younger players, especially when Michael Bradley comes back there's more than enough cover in midfield, that would be the safer choice, and a role he's done well in so far this season, but part of me wants him to be more daring.
The most intriguing possibility is of course Doneil Henry and Nick Hagglund. Both have impressed this season alongside more experienced partners, and you can't help but think ahead to the possibility that the 2 of them would make a very good partnership. Can that future start now? Despite his age, Henry's the longest serving TFC player, and in his 4th season. Nelsen has repeatedly said how Hagglund's temperament is so impressive, how nothing phases him.
It'd be quite the test, especially with multiple games on the horizon, but that's what I'd be tempted to do. If it looks like they're struggling, Orr can be moved back for future games to be the steady experienced hand, but why not see if the kids can get the job done now?