For a team that's probably looking to avoid too much media coverage after a month of May that saw Toronto FC lose 6 games by a combined score of 12-1 (ooh, but they're all close games, right Ryan?), things are pretty good right now. For those interested in football, there's been a Canada game, a riveting Voyageurs Cup final, and still to come a game in Toronto that everyone's actually looking forward to, in the form of the rematchiest rematch in the history of rematches on Sunday. I'm very much looking forward to seeing a packed and interested BMO Field again.
For those who enjoy the drama filled dysfunctional shitshow side of TFC, well we're no longer the biggest game in town. Rob Ford vs the Maggots (Come on you maggots!) has that angle well and truly covered (TFC even lent him their revolving door, how kind).
So it was a good few days to lie low after the latest disappointment in New England, to quietly drop the news that Danny Koevermans had twinged his other knee and probably wouldn't be playing on Saturday and that Richard Eckersley is still a good few weeks away from returning from his goal celebration injury.
Now though, with a sweet, guaranteed defeat free bye week coming up, the welcome break for all concerned gets rudely interrupted with a game this Saturday as Philadelphia come to town. With seats to be filled and hope to be sold, lo and behold, the reports came in from training today that Koevermans was in full training and could well play a part in the game. Come one, come all, see the saviour, the only way is up etc etc.
Another bit of good news from training, the Tal Ben Haim deal is apparently dead, due to Ben Haim's demands being a bit too much, presumably either a long term commitment or a large barrowful of cash. One of the best defenders in the premier league over the last decade or not (hint: it's not) that's a good bullet dodged right there.
But what of news that might affect this game? Well, Bobby Convey is ready to go and likely to start on Saturday which for a creativity starved midfield is a good sign, certainly worth a try and better than having Justin Braun out wide. Also everyone who was off doing international duty in midweek is back and available, and that might mean a start for Jonathan Osorio after his good showing in New England. Surely at the very least it means the end of Reggie Lambe in the first team. Matias Laba and Jeremy Hall should both be out there again at the base of midfield.
Talking of internationals, Darren O'Dea is back temporarily from his bench sitting duties with the Republic of Ireland (planning to fly back out there again after the game) so the experiment of him at left back is likely to continue, leaving Steven Caldwell and Doneil Henry to do battle with Jack McInerney and whichever of Sebastian le Toux and Conor Casey are up front, which is a bit alarming really, more so when you think that both McInerney and le Toux (and Casey when we played them in April) like to drift out wide so could be tormenting O'Dea and Ryan Richter anyway.
Up front it'll be Robbie Earnshaw again, (who hasn't scored since these teams met back on April 13, in case you're wondering what's the difference between the promising start to the season and a 5 game losing streak) and either Justin Braun or the yet to really impress this season Luis Silva. Hopefully Koevermans can come off the bench and give us a taste of what to look forward to later in the season.
This fixture does of course have a bit of history to it, a Danny Califf red card aided win in 2010 got a spluttering season underway and kicked off a great run for preki's team, especially at home, while it was pretty much the nadir of the 2011 season for Aron Winter, a comically bad 6-2 defeat. Last year, just over a year ago, TFC again came into it on a long losing streak with a bye week ahead, sound familiar? It did of course become the 1 in Aron Winter's 1-9 record, Danny Koevermans coming off the bench to score the late goal, but it wasn't enough to save Winter's job.
Can Ryan Nelsen's similarly beleagured team pull out a win as well? Stranger things have happened, after all TFC very nearly won in Philadelphia earlier, maybe they would have if Ashtone Morgan hadn't got a harsh second yellow, though that was mainly down to the heroics of Joe Bendik. If they can remember to mark McInerney when he's stood in the 6 yard box, and if Earnshaw, or maybe Koevermans! can find their goalscoring boots, then maybe we can put this losing streak to bed.
If not, well, we'll have two weeks to forget about it all and there's plenty of other things going on to distract ourselves with. Roll on Sunday.