Toronto FC catch a break this week as they get to play the Galaxy while Landon Donovan and Donovan Ricketts are away at the Gold Cup. Donovan has been far and away LA's best goalscorer this year as Juan Pablo Angel has proved an unprolific replacement for Edson Buddle and Chad Barrett, well he's Chad Barrett, three goals so far, but hey, check out the workrate and all the chances he's creating.
If Chad and co are going to get it going, this game's as good as any. With Julian de Guzman and Dicoy Williams away on their own Gold Cup duty, and Adrian Cann injured, Nana Attakora stepped up to lead the fragile defence to a clean sheet against Kansas city last week. But he injured himself at the end of the game, and according to this article, he's not expected to be in the squad. So, Ty Harden as the experienced guy helping along rookie Centre back Doneil Henry, with Danleigh Borman shoring things up at Left Back Nothing can go wrong here.
I'll look into other options, as well as discuss the selection problems up front, happy ones this time, Alan Gordon's back, after the jump.
So, Frei and Eckersley. No problems there, this is going well, looking like a good goalie and defence. Who's next? Harden, Henry, Borman eh? Aaaaw nuts. I mean....Aaaw Nuts. i do think Borman will get the start at left back, and he's not a bad option going forward, but defensively, it's less than ideal. In the middle, Harden will start, but will Aron Winter go with Doneil Henry? What other options are there? Tony Tchani has the physical attributes to play Centre Back, tall, quick, good tackler. Mikael Yourassowsky played Centre Back briefly in pre-season so should be considered a contender. Richard Eckersley was floated as a possibility, though i doubt that would happen as it would just create another problem to be solved at Right Back. I'll hazard a guess, and it is a complete guess, at Yourassowsky.
Up front Alan Gordon has passed a fitness test and should be back in the lineup against his old team. He's really been missed recently as he fits very well into our attack, holding the ball up and involving other people, pulling the defence out of position with his movement. Maicon Santos really hasn't provided any of that, as he has been very uninvolved aside from scoring a few goals here and there.
In the 7 and a half games since Alan Gordon was injured against Edmonton, only one other player aside from Santos has scored for TFC, Joao Plata with two, but only one from open play. Gordon's return should help with that, but is there a place for Santos, who has obviously demonstrated he can score so may well fit better in a role where he isn't expected to be the main focus of the attack to involve other people. Santos looks dangerous cutting in from the left and unleashing hard shots, so if he's going to work anywhere, it could be out on the left wing, which would leave Joao Plata, Javier Martina and Nick Soolsma to fight for the Right Wing spot.
In midfield, Nathan Sturgis has done ok as the Defensive Midfielder, so I'd expect him to continue there, and Jacob peterson has also travelled out to LA. Winter has certainly seemed keen on Peterson so far this season, so he'll more than likely find his way back into the midfield three, along with whichever of Tony Tchani or Mikael Yourassowsky isn't pressed into emergency defender service.
That would leave us with this starting lineup, I'll be stunned if I'm right, but whatever Winter comes up with, away from home against the top team in the league, I really can't see anything other than an LA win.
I'm now going on vacation, so this is serving as a game thread as well.
Come on you Reds!