In 2011, a mediocre group of footballers was relegated to the bench for goals they didn't score and tackles they didn't commit. These men escaped from other teams or the Dutch 5th division, to the Toronto reserve team. Today, largely unwanted even by their own team, they survive as bench warmers, and someone to practice against. If you have a game to play, if there's plenty of other people available, (but they're off focussing on something far more important), and if you actually took them to Colorado with you, maybe you can hire....The B-Team. Der der derrrrrrr, de-derr derrrr...
I'm firmly of the opinion that Toronto FC should be dealing with the devil that is squad rotation for Sunday's game. Don't get me wrong, I'd like to win, and would want whatever team is out there to be trying their hardest to get something out of the game, but the main thing to be thinking of should be Wednesday's game against Vancouver. Rest whoever would benefit from some rest, don't push tired players for the sake of chasing points in this game.
Without knowing exactly who made the trip out west, I want to see a midfield of Sturgis, Cordon and Gold, and Ty Harden in defence. I want to see Alen Stevanovic, Javier Martina and Nana Attakora going out there to prove a point and try and get their first team spot back.
In goal is a bit different, but I'd let Stefan Frei do what he wants, if he wants to play to stay sharp, let him play. If he says, 'Fuck that, I want to watch someone else try and bail out those jokers in front of me for once' then let him sit.
But of course, that decision is up to Aron Winter, and if this amusing interview on Toronto FC TV (at about the 3:00 mark) is anything to go by, he's absolutely not thinking about Wednesday.
"You've got a big game against Colorado, do you think ahead to Wednesday a little bit, in terms of who you put on the pitch?" "No" "No eh?" "No" "No? not one bit?" "No" Not think of resting certain players for Wednesday?" "No" .
So what sort of team will we see, and what can we expect from Colorado? All that and more after the jump.
Now Winter may well just be putting on a poker face, and he's given the impression he doesn't really like having to give any info to the media (as an example, have you seen any information on Tony Tchani's injury? me neither) so that statement's not as definitive as it seems, but I think it's probably fairly close to the truth that he won't be making too many changes, and will be putting out the best team he can in Colorado.
There's at least one player who will definitely get a rest, as Julian de Guzman is suspended due to all the yellow cards he's got so far this season, and it could well be an entirely new midfield. Tchani and Jacob Peterson both left the Vancouver game with injuries, there's no news on how serious they are, but I'd like to hope they wouldn't be rushed back ahead of the most important game of the season.
Another absence could well be Joao Plata, who was called up to Ecuador's pre Copa America training camp. Great news for him, but he'll now be unavailable to TFC for a few weeks, they play the third of three friendlies on June 7th, so he definitely won't be back before then. According to this article, he's expected to report to camp Sunday night, which would suggest it's unlikely he'll be playing tomorrow.
That means there'll be a spot at Left Wing open for the next few weeks, and I'd expect to see both Alen Stevanovic and Javier Martina play tomorrow and try to get their name back in the regular starting line up. I think Martina will be at Left Wing, with Stevanovic helping in midfield, where he'll probably be joined by two out of Nick Sturgis, Matt Gold and Oscar Cordon. I think Maicon Santos and Nick Soolsma will play again at Centre Forward and Right Wing respectively. Again, there's no injury news concerning Alan Gordon (when did he get hurt? Oh that's right, in a game he started against Edmonton despite us already being 3-0 up, grrr), but I doubt he'd be fit enough to go straight into the starting lineup. Hopefully he'll be able to come off the bench for 30 minutes or so to get his fitness up for Wednesday.
Given Colorado have a very set in stone 4-4-2 formation, with two defensive midfielders and then wingers and full backs attacking down the wings and without a central Attacking midfielder, I'd expect to see Toronto switch back to the 'point forward' three man midfield, to allow two more defensive midfielders to help out the full backs, which would then leave Stevanovic to play in the number 10 position behind Santos.
In defence, though I'd like to see Adrian Cann get a rest, I think it'll be an unchanged back 4 for the third game running. After returning from the rib injury he sufferd in mid April against DC, Cann's played every minute of every game, and in the last couple of games he hasn't looked at his best at all. I'd love to see Nana Attakora be given the chance to replace him, but more than likely it would be Ty Harden, and most likely of all, Cann will get the start again. In goal, I really can't see anything other than Stefan Frei continuing, so my best guess is the following.
As for Colorado, after a nightmarish run of injuries, they're more or less fit again, and have Conor Casey back up front, though they still don't have Omar Cummings back, and with Caleb Folan and Macoumba kandji also injured, it could well be Sanna Nyassi up front with him. Aside from the over zealously suspended Brian Mullan, they'll have pretty much their first choice midfield, including the world's most unlikely sounding redhead in Jeff Larentowicz, paired with Pablo Mastroenni in a very effective midfield partnership.
As for a prediction, I think it will be a fairly strong team that we put out, but it still won't be good enough for the plan to come together, and they won't acheive anything other than making themselves just that little bit more tired for Wednesday's game, 2-0 to to Colorado.