Odds And Ends

– Chivas USA goal keeper Zach Thornton is still a huge hulk of a man. He is officially listed by his club in their media guide as being 230 lbs. I know from personal experience what 230 lbs. looks like (and feels like frankly) and I can tell you dear reader that with no uncertainty, he is considerably heavier than 230lbs. As a reminder, here is what “230 lbs” looks like when it is dropped to the turf like a sack of wet boots.

– Duane Rollins over at the 24th Minute has been running for a few weeks now his 2010 MLS playoff projections ( http://www.24thminute.com/) that are based on points accumulated to date, home and away records, games remaining, toughness of remaining fixtures and the like. Including games up to last evening, his projections currently show TFC missing the MLS playoffs by a single point. His current projection is TFC ending up with 38 points missing out by a single point the last spot to Chicago and Seattle. A week ago he projected 41 points and 8th place. Sobering thoughts Duane, thanks for sharing them.

– On July 21st (sixteen long days ago) TFC Director of Soccer Mo Johnston stated that he expected to sign a wing player in his words within a “week or so”. As a reminder, here is what he said:

Still waiting anxiously Mo to see what you come up with. And with TFC still leading MLS in corner kicks conceded and trailing MLS in corners earned, let alone the predictable nature of TFC’s offensive tactics with a lack of true wing play, I hope this is still something that is on your radar. In my humble non-professional fan/blogger opinion, no additional help on the wing or at fullback means that the MLS playoffs are going to be a difficult ask and Champions League success is going to be even harder to accomplish for Toronto FC. There are 600 hours between today and the closing of the transfer window… Don’t let us keep you.

– My good friend and fellow blogger Ben Knight (http://onwardsoccer.com) has been on a bit of sabbatical recently, but came back this week with a post after the Champions League game where he had some excellent points about the game but chose to heap scorn upon the shoulders of TFC midfielder and designated player Julian De Guzman. I respect your opinion Ben but in this case I think you got it absolutely wrong about Julian. De Guzman is a great player. He makes those around him better, however perhaps not as “better” as some would hope. His little passes and flicks have to be picked up by someone and with the absolutely poor ability for our fullbacks and/or wingers to get into the play offensively, the way we would all like them to, JDG has little choice in what he can do with the ball more often than not. He often has to be as predictable in his offensive approach as the rest of the club often is. I think a more interesting debate is not the individual merits of a man who is undoubtedly a wonderful player. Rather I would ask is it the right move in a league like MLS to use a DP slot on this kind of player (a defensively minded midfielder)  in the first place. I am really glad Ben is back blogging, but I think I have to disagree on this one.

– The schedule for TFC’s six CONCACAF Champions League fixtures have been released. Here they are:

  • Tuesday, August 17th– TFC  home to Cruz Azul
  • Tuesday August 24th– TFC away to Arabe Unido
  • Tuesday, September 14th – TFC away to Real Salt Lake
  • Tuesday September 21st – TFC away to Cruz Azul
  • Tuesday September 28th – TFC home to Real Salt Lake
  • Tuesday October 19th– TFC home to Arabe Unido

And in related news it was also announced today that all these games will be televised live on GOLTV Canada. In what is by all accounts one of the tougher groups TFC has at least been given a somewhat favourable schedule. The trips to Mexico and Panama come right after MLS away games so at the very least the travel burdens should be less onerous than they could have been. Panama is a lot closer to San Jose than it is to Toronto. And Mexico City is a lot closer to Houston than it is to Toronto as well. More to come on the group stages next week.

And now onto the Chivas game…

  • MLS has assigned referee Jorge Gonzalez to tomorrow’s tilt at BMO Field. He has been relatively speaking one of the better officials for TFC, at least when it comes to results. Dating back to 2008 Mr. Gonzalez has officiated seven matches. TFC has won three, lost three and drawn one for a .500 record. He has only officiated once at BMO Field, which was this season’s 2-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders.
  • Chivas is not the best road team in MLS (far from it actually) but they have gotten some good results recently. At Kansas City on July 10ththey beat the Wizards 2-0 and two weeks ago they went to Rio Tinto and drew RSL 1 all.
  • At home last week Chivas secured its biggest win of the season by soundly defeating East division leading Columbus Crew 3-1. As well Chivas beat Houston Dynamo in the US Open Cup tournament on Tuesday evening away in Texas and play next week in the Semi finals of this tournament against either Seattle or the Galaxy. So TFC is not the only team tomorrow playing on three days rest.
  • Chivas today announced that long time LA Galaxy striker Alan Gordon was picked up in a trade for allocation money. He is flying to Toronto to join up with his new team and is expected to play tomorrow.
  • Preki both knows well, and is well known by Chivas USA. I am not sure how much his tenure at Chivas will matter tomorrow, but I am sure that he will indeed want to bag the full three points on offer.
  • Environment Canada is calling for a sunshine with some cloudy periods tomorrow afternoon with a high of 26 degrees. A 20kph wind coming in off the Lake may have an impact on the result.
  • TFC has scored twelve goals at home this season conceding only four. Chivas has been a good MLS road scoring club, with eleven goals away from home so far in 2010. However they have given up twelve goals away from the Home Depot Center.

Six of the last nine games that Toronto FC  has left in the league this year are going to be on the road. If TFC has any shot at the playoffs then securing winnable points like the three on offer tomorrow against a club like Chivas, their recent success notwithstanding, is an absolute necessity. My guess is a 2-1 TFC win tomorrow with Julian De Guzman finally potting a goal for the Reds.

See you in the South Stands tomorrow and on my video blog that will be up early Sunday


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