So it's only a friendly tonight. Some would argue that means tonight's game is inherently less important that a regular season match. Well, they are... right. But that doesn't mean we can't have any fun! I know there's this whole mantra spreading around MLS fandom right now about "Trophies not Friendlies" and, in some respects, they have a good point. Still, it'll be nice to get some reserves minutes. Young guys like Spencer Thompson, Freddie Braun, Chris Taylor and Jake Gleeson need minutes and this game is as good a place as any.
So, yes, while it's always better to focus on trophies throughout the season, I certainly wouldn't disregard all friendlies immediately. Having friendlies and having trophies aren't mutually exclusive.
Oh and one quick note. I'm not going to be too intensive with today's preview. Hope you guys understand!
Assessing Our Team
It'll be interesting to see who starts tonight, but I can assure you that most of the regular players probably won't see much action tonight. Instead, we'll probably see a hodge-podge of reserve and substitutes get minutes. Players like Ryan Pore, Sal Zizzo and Brian Umony (if he's fit) will more than likely be the stars for tonight.The singular exception here is probably the backline where we could very well see Eric Brunner taking a starting role in tonight's game. Normally, given his starting 11 tendencies, I'd say he'd be rested ahead of the away game in Columbus but given that he had to sit out last Saturday against the Chicago Fire due to a previous red card I'll go out on a limb and say he gets meaningful minutes.
In the net we'll probably see Adin Brown for the first half and Jake Gleeson for the second.
I won't both putting up a projetced starting line up for tonight's game. It could really consist of anybody.
Assessing the Friendly
The "Baggies" as they're lovingly called aren't quite the typical EPL team we're used to seeing this side of the Atlantic Ocean. More often than not it's usually Manchester United, Chelsea, or one of the other larger EPL sides. Even Everton and Newcastle United wouldn't be entirely strange. So it's really quite the treat to see West Bromwich Albion play as, more so than anything else, it's a unique experience.
Finishing 11th in the Premiership last season, West Brom actually had a fairly decent season as they're typically one of the bottom teams, although I believe they've been in the EPL for a couple seasons now. Still they've bounced back and forth between the Championship and Premiership leagues for the last decade. So for them to come in 11th for the entire season this past season is quite the accomplishment for the club.
I don't know too much about their individual players aside from Peter Odemwingie who is their current star striker. Not Rooney quality, but he scored and impressive 15 goals in the previous season. That, in itself, should be well worth noting since he is expected to play tonight.
Tonight is about fun. Win, lose... doesn't really matter. Naturally I always want to see the Timbers win, but tonight is simply a guilty pleasure in enjoying soccer. Nothing more, nothing less.
On a side note, I'm also going to use tonight's game to judge West Brom as my potential EPL club. Honestly, I've never really cared about the EPL but I figure this upcoming season is as good as any to follow so I might as well pick a team. Here's hoping West Brom puts on an interesting enough showing as it'd really help me out.
Tonight's match kicks off at 8:00 PM at Jeld-Wen Field. It is not broadcast on TV, but there will be a free stream available to those of you who can't get a ticket.