DC played a gutsy game (their 4th in 13 days) against Chicago on Wednesday night - winning 3-1 - and have the Supporter's Shield in sight. Ben Olsen's team has proven to be a force in the Eastern Conference. TFC are no slouch, though. A good win against San Jose and another class performance from Giovinco has the Reds sitting at 4th in the Eastern Conference. The match against DC will be a true test of their mettle, especially with captain Michael Bradley away on National Team Duty.
Match Talking Points
For many of us here at WTR, this photo was too good to be true:
Could Canadian Jay Chapman really get a start? If he did, would he do well? Bradley has been on fire as of late. (You should watch this:
Bradley has been a monster over the past few games. Them's some shoes to fill. Whether Chapman starts, or Vanney adapts the formation to rely more heavily on the less-mobile Benoit Cheyrou, only Saturday can tell us.
Then, as if the captain being away wasn't enough, there's a keeper controversy. Konopka? Bendik? There are a bevy of arguments for each side. Big Joe has been a great servant to TFC in his time here. Konopka has really seized his chance. My expectation is that Vanney sticks with the hot hand --er, glove.
There's also the possibility that Mark Bloom and Jozy Altidore could make cameo appearances against D.C. Though Altidore seems less likely, both traveled with the team.
My guess is that Vanney doesn't start Chapman, but shifts Creavalle inside and plays Jackson on the right. Otherwise we're much the same.
Keys to the Game
With so many matches over the past two weeks, DC have rotated their lineup a fair bit. They also can carve up teams with many variations of their lineup. Espindola is a special player, especially in DC's counterattack. Chris Rolfe is really good again. Luis Silva played for TFC so he'll get at least 1 goal, if he plays. Jairo Arrieta got 2 against Chicago. DC are good, is what I'm trying to say. TFC will have to be good as well.
The game kicks off at 7pm. You can get all your usual WTR coverage here, watch the game on MLS Live, and cheer the Reds on to victory.