TFC 2011 | Week#15

Real Bruised

Real Salt Lake vs  Toronto FC


Plague of Injuries

Neither side in Saturday’s match will be fielding a complete roster of A-list talent. RSL are literally without healthy forwards. TFC, similarly, will be fortunate to field a complete midfield. And one more injury to the central defenders will force the Reds to plug holes with players who play elsewhere.

One thing is certain. Salt Lake’s defense is in decent form. They are miserly, and they are even less likely to concede at home. Consequently, over the past few seasons, RSL have one of the best records at home in the league.

In short, TFC will be fortunate to leave with any points.

As per last week’s post here, the fate of the offense hangs on Alan Gordon’s health. Injury-free, Gordon is the Reds catalyst for attack. Should TFC score Saturday, they’ll force the matter for an RSL side that is playing without its scoring talent.

Plan B for the reds should include playing rookie defender Demitrius Omphroy up-front. They did in the Reserve League match on Tuesday and he scored twice. Perhaps it was kismet, possibly it was because his parents were attending the game.

Maybe if the team flies his parents to Utah for this match, he could repeat the magic for the first team. Omphroy has yet to play in a proper MLS match. A striker as a youngster, he was converted into a fullback and was signed in that capacity. It would be great if Aron Winter gambled on him.

And why not? It’s not like the other combinations have been reaping goals in abundance. Any goal scoring serendipity on this roster is worth chasing at this point.

Without that kind of wildcard in play, we’re looking at Plata, Santos, Soolsma attacking again. Sturgis and Yourassowsky are the last men standing in the midfield. One of the rookies, Matt Gold or Oscar Cordon, will be called in as apprentices. The back line is likely unchanged from the past few matches –  Eckersley, Henry, Harden and Borman.

TFC will have to find something other than Alan Gordon to open up a disciplined RSL back line. It’s a safe bet that the Reds will aim for a compact defensive posture and strikes rooted in counter-attacks. One has to figure Salt Lake will be playing the same strategic cards, but odds are they’ll also have the possession advantage. Not exactly shaping up to be a thriller.

Some fresh attacking blood might help TFC. Rumours on Canadian Soccer News today suggest a Dutch striker could be arriving soonish, though certainly not in time for Saturday’s match. Without much of a crystal ball, I can’t say I see Toronto FC’s transfer future with any clarity. Winter and Mariner ought to be making some sharp deals in the coming weeks.

TFC’s players and fans alike will be greatly relieved if their reputations for judging talent are worth a cent.

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