State of Mind: Ty Harden gets to play? Oh dear; feel my optimism fading fast
It's been 10 long days since we last got to see our Reds play and like any other time in TFC land it's been somewhat eventful. The last match against Chicago was predictably awful as our Reds were outplayed, outgunned and just plain out done for pretty much the entire 90 minutes. Yes RJ did score a goal in that game and a more TFCesque style goal you could not find; well for the other team that is. Marco Pappa made a very uncharacteristic (yet typical TFC) gaffe and RJ scored the epitome of an "against the run of play" type of goal. But hey it was exciting for a bit, wasn't it? However, it wasn't to last; we all know the match ended with TFC beaten down, broken down and just plain down - two men down in fact, Emory for card accumulation and Jeremy Hall to injury - not exactly the way to build upon the positive outing (ok, it was a beatdown) over CD Aguila the Wednesday before. Right, I forgot; no one was there to see that game...sigh.
Other than the loss to the Fire continuing to illustrate the flaws in our team, the one thing that angered me the most was the second half sub of Jeremy Hall for Reggie Lambe - Hall was of course injured in the second half (and is still unavailable for play). What I expected was to see Eric Avila come on at the half (or whenever Reggie got subbed off) - the opportunity to steal points was still there and Avi is (IMO) a better attacking player than Hall. And of course in the hindsight is 20/20 world had Hall not played, he wouldn't have been injured...etc, etc, etc....but I'm not really steamed about that - just continuing to be frustrated with how Avi is being ignored by the current coaching staff. There have been countless times in recent matches when he (potentially) could have made a difference but still never gets to even step on the pitch.
I would have liked to have been wrong about that Chicago game but most of us had a bad feeling beforehand and unfortunately it come to be....this is pretty much how I felt after the game:
Late Links: If at this late date you haven't read these recaps here you go - The Yorkies, Waking The Red and Red Nation Online.
Let's get ready to rumble! It's time for the Battle of the Basement (again). It's time for TFC to shed their TimBit (everyone run after the ball together, kick the ball way down field, repeat) like image and use the Timbers to climb out of the MLS basement. This will be one of their few almost guaranteed chances to secure points and begin that precarious climb.
Tonight's match should prove to be well, interesting at the very least. Toronto is playing with a very shortened bench due to international call-ups (Terry, Doneil, Ryan, Dicoy and Darren take a bow), injuries and one suspension. The suspension on Logan Emory from the last match is unfortunate as had circumstances not required (and absolutely rightly) that this past Saturday's game against Columbus be rescheduled so that the Crew could attend the funeral of Kirk Urso then Emory would be available. Instead tonight will see the likes of Adrian Cann and Ty (The Spork) Harden in the starting XI as well as Ecks back in his natural position at RB...time for a little Retro TFC action!
However, even with the 'so thin it's see through' lineup for TFC, this is still a winnable game for our Reds. The Timbers are by no means a powerhouse and have been free-falling for most of the season. They are arguably the worst road team in the MLS, having not won a single match away from Jeld-Wen Field. Add to that their inability to score goals (only two in their last ten on the road) and even TFC's defense might be able to withstand whatever assault Kris Boyd and Co. can throw at them.
The real concern for tonight's match is how will the players that have barely played in the past months fare in an actual match? Other than a few minutes against that English team last month neither Cann or Harden have played and when was the last time that Ecks got to play at Right Back? And assuming (and I am assuming this) that Avi gets the start in the midfield will he be able to shake off the rust and contribute enough to maybe get some regular playing time? What I think is the positive side is that these guys are dying for some minutes and will likely put in a killer effort to show why they should have the chance to set foot on the field again in the near future. And with five games in fourteen days Mariner will need to have options; hopefully the almost forgotten will be able to prove themselves as such.
Really the only other question is who will show up tonight? And I don't mean players I mean fans. Not that CCL games are any sort of barometer for attendance but the apathy continues to grow amongst the fans and mid-week games (summer or no) have not been well attended regardless of the fixture. I'll be there as always and I'm dragging my youngest brother along with me for his first ever MLS match. Hopefully he doesn't come away scarred for life...
COME ON YOU REDS!!
Lots of Links: The Yorkies, Waking The Red (Duncan, Duncan again & James) and Red Nation Online.