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TFC 2010 | Week#3

Reds vs Revs

7:30 pm @ Gilette Stadium (Broadcast on GOLtv)

NE Revolution Toronto FC

Game Day, Hooray!

What a week. No matter what your opinions on rosters and coaching and front office politics, it’s a relief knowing that tomorrow will bring our second match of the season. An extra week away from competition could help our side tomorrow. There’s been time for practice and integrating new guys, added time for injury recovery, and time for the pressure of off-field issues to escape into the blogosphere and beyond. I’m not saying the fan/critic grousing will stop just because we’re back in action this week, but at least Preki and the guys will have a chance to answer all that blather with their efforts on the pitch. The Toronto Star has declared our club a ‘gong show’ and our side has a chance this week to prove that to be unfair hyperbole.

Into The Game

The Revolution may or may not have Shalrie Joseph in their line-up this week as he’s fighting to recover from injury. He’s a dominant force when he’s playing and we’ll be lucky if he misses this game. Last week’s two late goals by Kenny Mansally sunk DC United in the waning minutes, and the Revs are riding into their home opener on that victorious wave. Recently acquired Serbian midfielder Marko Perovic may join the Revs line-up tomorrow and could be an additional attacking threat. Historically, Toronto FC have struggled against New England, but last year we improved our record against them – winning at home and earning a tie away. With so much change to our roster this year, it’s hard to predict our match up against this side.

Key issues for Toronto FC this week now include a stop-gap solution to Jim Brennan’s absence in the back line. If our central defending were strong and stable, this might not be much cause for concern. It seems likely we’ll see Gabe Gala trying to fill Brennan’s boots tomorrow. The poor guy will have his hands full with the Revs midfielder Sainey Nyassi working their right side. Overall, it’s going to be a tough day for our back line. Hopefully, the extra practice time during our week off will allow lessons learned in Columbus to tighten up their game and minimize the mistakes and giveaways.

Beyond a doubt, the biggest issue for our club will be scoring a goal. Win, lose or draw, our side needs to pot one soon or the intensity of the fan/critic howls will rise exponentially. With the Revs talking up their current 174 minute run without giving up a goal, Toronto FC will need to put some fire into an attack that never looked assured or dangerous against the Columbus Crew. Chad Barrett may be well enough to play tomorrow. Despite his many critics, his return is good news. It will allow DeRo to move back into his preferred attacking midfielder role and will add a real striking partner for O’Brian White. Barrett’s solid work ethic in both directions also will help us stir up chances in the middle of the park. I’m chalking up Barrett’s performance last season as a ‘bad’  year. If he regains his health and confidence, Barrett will score ten goals this year. Tomorrow, if he plays, he’ll open up more options in breaking through New England’s back line and will pull some defenders away from DeRo.

Keeping possession in our midfield and creative playmaking were lacking the last time out, but our better organization and more threats moving forward should help turn our chances into something more menacing… and, hopefully, at least one goal.

Prediction

Toronto FC 1 – NE Revolution 1

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