VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 19: The starting eleven players with the Toronto FC pose for a team photo before their game against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC March 19, 2011 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Vancouver won their first ever MLS game 4-2. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
I can't believe it has already been a week since our home opener last Saturday, well almost a week. Regardless, this time tomorrow we'll all be sitting down to watch our favorite MLS team take on Toronto FC, the perennial losers of the league. Apologies to any TFC fans reading this, but it's the truth. But this fact also makes them a fairly dangerous team to play against, one that's desperate to win their home opener and show the league that they're not going to be push overs this year.
So, with that in mind, simply because we saw our northern rivals whomp Toronto FC last week 4 - 2 doesn't mean, for a second, that we should think this game is a given. We're still playing at their home, one of the better atmospheres of the league, in their weather, against a team that will be looking to for a certain sort of retribution by beating an "expansion" team, after losing to one.
Toronto FC Brings in Reinforcements
Unfortunately for us, the same team that Vancouver played against last Saturday might look just a tad different in the mid field due to some choice signing earlier this week in midfielder Alen Stevanovic from Serbia and forward Joao Plata from Equador. While I'm not terribly confident that Plata will be seeing game time in Saturday's game, Stevanovic worries me.
Stevanovic, 20, is currently co-owned by Torino and Internazionale Milan. He signed a contract with Inter in February 2009 and trained with the club under coach Jose Mourinho. He made his Serie A debut on January 9, 2010 when he came on as a substitute in a league match against Siena. Stevanovic left in July 2010 to join Torino in a co-ownership deal
A young, creative midfielder who has played in both the Serie A for Inter Milan and Serie B for Torino FC is exactly the kind of thing we don't need. We saw how Colorado dominated the midfield last week, I certainly don't want the same thing happening this week.
Injuries, substitutions, and more
What's worse is that our team continues to be at a tactical disadvantage due to a number of injuries still plaguing key players. Troy Perkins will remain sidelined and while Darlington Nagbe was doing some ball work at training the other day reports have come out saying he is still at least 7-10 days away from playing a match.
Bright Dike is, as expected, going to be sidelined for the foreseeable future.
The De Rosario Problem
The primary problem we'll face when playing against Toronto FC tomorrow is Dwayne De Rosario. The Canadian native has proven, time and again, that he is a very dangerous playmaker in the midfield that often scores just as often as he is setting up goals. While his off-the-field ego has earned him a bit of ire amongst league fans, you can bet he'll absolutely be playing tomorrow looking to secure that very valuable home opener win.
The good news here is that, aside from De Rosario, Toronto FC's attacking prowess is a bit limp. I expect a similar line up this week as last week which fielded Maicon Santos and Javier Martina up top. While Maicon Santos can certainly be dangerous (he scored in last week's game against Vancouver) the duo up top aren't half as dangerous as the Conor Casey and Omar Cummings duo that Colorado fielded last week.
So there's a brief look at tomorrow's enemy. As usual, I'll put up our match thread prior to the game tomorrow (around 7:30 am) which will analyze our team, their team, and some predictions.