Everyone excited? Hyped up? ARE YOU READY? No? Well then you haven't watched this:
Now you're hyped, right? Right?! Time for the latest must win/should win (really they should) match for Toronto FC. This weekend they get to take on Chivas USA as they go through the motions on their farewell tour before heading into the sunset; I mean go on hiatus until 2016. MLS sure is fun, isn't it?
Seriously this really is one of those games that TFC absolutely should win. Chivas is a team that is a it's lowest ebb and Toronto at the very least has almost its full team back and is riding the tiniest bit of momentum from their last match.
Rejoining the team is captain (or does Michael Bradley retain the armband?) Steven Caldwell which will bring a much needed veteran presence to the beleaguered backline. Caldwell's absence has been keenly felt and having him back to keep the defence organised is a key to Toronto winning. Also returning is Jonathan Osorio who will likely partner Michael Bradley in the middle as Collen Warner is still injured. Having Oso back also gives an added dimension to the attack for Greg Vanney.
In fact with the return of Caldwell and Oso this is the strongest team that Vanney will have had at his disposal since taking the reins from Ryan Nelsen. Even with the absence of Warner the main piece missing is of course everyone's favourite EPL striker, Jermain Defoe. Defoe is slated to return to the team this coming week, although from recent comments by Vanney and the team, he likely won't see the pitch for a game until the trip to LA the first weekend in October.
Defoe's condition and status with the team continues to be shrouded in mystery and while all the right things are being said by both sides for now; it will likely not be sorted to any satisfaction (if that's possible) until the end of the season at the earliest. But there is no doubt that the team misses his production on the field - goals have been sorely needed to help offset the issues at the back. And while Glberto and Luke Moore have had some success they've not been able to keep it going for every game.
Nor is Dwayne De Rosario an option to be relied upon for goals regardless of his tally last week - DeRo is a good super sub; he's a smart player that can come in and change things - he is not a ninety minutes kind of guy. Which is fine; impactful subs are needed to secure wins and points and DeRo is no stranger to doing just that.
On the face of things this should be a walk for Toronto. They'll be fielding a pretty strong team against a fading Chivas squad that is missing the one player that is responsible for almost two thirds of their goals in Erick 'Cubo' Torres and well, a little victory dance might be in order.
But then you have to remember that this is TFC and that any time there is a way to spectacularly mess up; they'll probably do it. One of the things that sticks out is that Toronto doesn't actually have a very good record against Chivas - and an abysmal one the past few years. In fact they've only beat them twice (although both times were at BMO - silver lining?) and not at all in the past four years. That's right - only two wins all time against perennial wooden spoon winners, Chivas.
Adding to the (potential) misery is the return of a couple of prodigal sons. First up is MLS journeyman (currently playing for his seventh team!), Nathan Sturgis, who sulked his way through a handful of games with TFC back in 2011 before being traded away for a conditional draft pick. Sturgis never seemed to enjoy being here in Toronto and no one was sad - or even noticed really - when he was traded.
But the big story is the return of Eric Avila. Many of the TFC faithful miss Avi (and the hipster crew that he captained around town); but he had a difficult time playing under Paul Mariner and asked to be put in the re-entry draft at the end of the 2012 season where he was taken by the Colorado Rapids and subsequently traded to Chivas. Avi is the more likely of the two to do some damage to our Reds even if he left under not terrible circumstances and according to reports will be off to Santos Laguna once the MLS season ends. However this being TFC who would take money on Sturgis setting up Avi for the game winning goal for Chivas? In the 93rd minute of course. Because that would be so TFC...
With the red line and playoffs pulling away further into the distance Toronto is running out of time to find a way to come together and win. Because they need maximum points if they are to have any hope at all at regaining a playoff positon and salvage this season. Fingers crossed folks cause this one has the potential to be scary. But really, they should win. So, COME ON YOU REDS!