If this were a different TFC - you know one with a healthy roster, an ability (or willingness) to compete for a full 90 and be more clinical at finishing - fans of the Revs (or the Reds) might be shouting "the Reds are coming, the Reds are coming!". But no modern day Paul Revere is required for this game as Toronto comes limping into town instead of leading the charge.
Let's forget for a minute the recent form of our Reds - yes, I realize that's difficult but try - and look at the list of players that won't be travelling due to injury, illness or fear of the plastic pitch: Richard Eckersley, Bobby Convey, Darel Russell, Justin Braun, Logan Emory, Danny Califf, Stephen Frei, Terry Dunfield and Danny Koevermans. If a couple other Reds twist their ankles in training we can field an entire team of injured players! Whee!
Seriously though it's a daunting list of players that aren't available - although apparently Koef would have travelled/potentially played had Toronto not been headed to the plastic scene of his demise last season. Either way, as depth isn't exactly a strong point for TFC yet this season, having 9 players out has to hurt.
On the flip side of that massive list of unavailable players is that it should make picking the starting XI for coach Nelsen that much easier. Right? The back four is still likely a bit of a mystery - will captain Darren O'Dea resume his place in the middle or is Ashtone Morgan forever nailed to the bench and the O'Dea at LB experiment continues?
This is my guess (I won't go so far as to say educated) for the XI: Bendik, Richter, Boss, Caldwell, O'Dea, Hall, Laba, Lambe, Silva, Brockie and Earnshaw. The growing partnership of Laba and Hall will again be key in keeping the play organized and getting the ball to the attacking players. The big unknown is how well Brockie and Earnshaw will have gelled during training this week as the goals will have to come from them unless Silva rediscovers some of his form from last season. And as New England has been a very difficult team to score on this season making every chance count (every chance Earnshaw - are you listening?) cannot be stressed enough.
The main concern with this projected (although very likely) lineup is dealing with the speed of the Revs attack; most notably from the recently traded Juan Agudelo (making his home debut; great) and youngster Diego Fagundez who's bagged three of the Revs last six goals. Delightful. Add to that the duo of Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe and their strong passing game - and who doesn't love watching our Reds haplessly run around while the other team toys with them in the midfield? - and it has the makings for another tough outing for Toronto.
While Nelsen and many of the players continue to state how close they are to competing for a playoff spot, and that they're only a mistake free game away from turning this listing ship around, we're all still waiting for 90 minutes of play. I'd rather that they show up and actually try for the full game and lose than continue to give us partial efforts and 'come close' or you know, lose. Seriously - I won't like a loss tomorrow but I'd accept it if the Reds looked like a team with some vision and ability.
If there aren't some positive signs out on the pitch tomorrow expect next week's game against the Union to be hyped to the rafters as the return of the saviour, AKA Koef. This is not a team that has responded well to this kind of pressure and expectation - they need to start something now if there is to be any sign of growth for the future - not playoffs (seriously that is not happening) but the future; as in next season. Don't mean to be a downer kids but regardless of hopeful interview soundbites and talk of transfer window upgrades, any dividends won't pay off this season. Which in the long run is fine; no matter how exhausting it is right now.
After all of that how about a little old school Paul Revere instead?