One of the great things about professional team sports is the power of redemption. One game can see a club put on a horrid display that shames everyone associated with it. And Saturday past in Seattle definitely counts as a shameful performance.

V-Cup 2009And one horrid display can often be followed up by a performance that sees the club play hard, entertain the fans and give them a much needed morale boosting victory. Tonight looks like that kind of night to me (at least I hope it is!). And if it turns out not to be then the rumblings of anger and frustration that have been the talk of some Reds boosters might indeed turn into a torrent of anger and frustration in response to the results on the field.

Realistically this should be as close to a slam dunk as there can be. FC Edmonton not only lost to TFC last week in Alberta 3-0 but on the weekend they were smoked at home by the Montreal Impact who scores five unanswered goals against the newcomers.

And with the glut of games ahead and the cushion TFC has in this tie coming home I do not expect to see anything close to a top starting XI for the Reds this evening.  Hopefully Aron Winter takes the opportunity presented to him here to take a more serious look at some of the fringe midfielders and strikers he has available to him along with perhaps goalkeeper Milos Kocic.  If any TFC player deserves the night off this evening it must certainly be Stefan Frei!

One area I hope he rests nobody is on the defense. Edmonton will not, all due respect to them, likely pose much of an offensive challenge this evening and it might give what he considers his best starting four defenders a zero pressure environment to work on their communications and positioning which frankly has been absolutely atrocious overall this season, especially last weekend in Washington State. That assumes he starts his best four defenders, which I strongly believe he should do.

The club informed me this afternoon that Mauricio Navarro will be officiating the match at BMO Field this evening. Dating back to 2007 TFC has seen him officiate four matches, three in MLS and one in the 2009 Voyageurs Cup tournament which saw the Reds defeat the Impact 1-0. The MLS matches were recorded as a win, a draw and a loss, all at home.

I am off to the pub for some pre-game festivities. Tomorrow I will be be posting my usual post game video thoughts on what happens on the field and in the stands. And if all goes well TFC will be booking passage into the final of the revamped Voyageurs Cup tournament where they will have the chance to defend the trophy for the third year running.

Meanwhile out west the Whitecaps take a 1-0 lead into Empire Field where they host the Montreal Impact in their second semi-final match. All due respect to Vancouver but I hope that Montreal can find a way to win this match up so that TFC fans have the chance for a Montreal road trip that the new tournament format has taken away from them this season.


See you in the south stands!




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