New England Revolution v. Toronto FC
When: 7:30 pm ET, Saturday, August 23, 2008
Where: BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario
TV: Fox Soccer Channel
The Gist: Saturday night’s
game between New England and Toronto pits two teams against each other
who are at opposite ends of the table and are clearly headed in
After recovering from their worst run of
form of the 2008 season (a three-game winless streak) by beating D.C.
United 2-1 on Wednesday, the Revs look poised to continue their
previous smooth sailing as they take on 6th-placed Toronto, who have
only one win in their last 13 matches and only two victories since the
end of May.
The game will also see some familiar faces return
and a fresh one potentially make his debut as defenders Marvell Wynne
and Michael Parkhurst of Toronto and New England, respectively, make
their return from the olympic games, while newly acquired Toronto
player Carlos Ruiz is set to debut for the Reds.
What to Watch For:
Ruiz will be the big story for Toronto as the striker recently
completed his move from Los Angeles. Sources close to “El Pescado” say
that the Guatemalan frontman isn’t exactly thrilled about a move to
Toronto and the idea of playing on turf.
Whether Ruiz shows up
for Toronto or not remains to be seen, but his scoring prowess will
certainly help the Reds who have only managed to score 21 goals all
season, with only 10 coming at home.
Trying to counteract the
presence of Ruiz will be the Revolution’s stellar midfield led by Steve
Ralston. The Revs usual middle three of Ralston, Shalrie Joseph, and
Jeff Larentowicz provided New England with the possession they needed
to beat United. They present so many different offensive looks -- even
Larentowicz, the hard man, scored in midweek -- and will undoubtedly
cause the weak Toronto defense problems. However, the loss of Gambian
speed merchant Sainey Nyassi hinders the Revs' right side.
off an impressive performance at the Olympics, young defender Marvell
Wynne is easily Toronto’s best player on the back line, but with little
help from the rest of his defense, Toronto will be hard-pressed to
quell the pressure brought on by the dynamic Revolution offense that is
tied for 5th in the league in goals scored.
The last time these
two teams met back on June 28th, the Revolution came away 2-1 winners,
both goals coming from captain Ralston. Toronto barely managed a sniff
as their goal came by way of a 78th minute own goal by Revolution
Since that game, the teams have gone their
separate ways in the standings as the Revolution went on an impressive
unbeaten streak that lasted nine games, while Toronto is still
suffering from their extended run of poor form that stems all the way
back to mid-June.
He’s So Hot Right Now: Taylor
Twellman. The Revolution man might have a hard time beating a Toronto
defense that has conceded only four goals at BMO Field, a league low
among home team performances. But Twellman has three goals in just five
appearances this year should get more chances against TFC, considering
the support and service he’ll receive from his midfield.
Prediction: New England 1 - 0 Toronto FC
-- Shane Evans, Goal.com