|Why Is This Man Smiling? Fans Sure the Hell Aren't|
Somehow the Red Bulls managed to slip in three regular season games since the last SUB WATCH. If that wasn't disorienting enough, my wallet is fully of weird looking colored bills and there's something called a "loony" in my pocket. Now, I remember, SUB WATCH is north of the border for a clash with the lowly TFC! Luckily, the secret tunnel bend Niagara falls made it a quick trip.
But first, let's take a look at what happened, sub-wise over the last three games. As always, SUB WATCH is for informational purposes only. Wager at your own risk!
A hapless 3-1 defeat to the Fire was made even worse by yet another appearance by Victor Palsson. Fans remain puzzled as to why Palsson seems to be a go-to man off the bench for Hans Backe, when the only memorable moments he's created are generous giveaways (especially egregious vs. DC), passes to no one and a brutal tackle at Montreal that earned him a second yellow and forced the Red Bulls to play with 10 men.
The other subs in Chicago were Mehdi "Mister X" Ballouchy in for Roy "Mr. WHY?" Miller and Wonder Boy Connor Lade on for fellow former sub sensation Brandon Barklage. Raise your hand if you remember when an unknown Barklage was featured off the bench as a midfielder in early games this season. Now keep it up if you remember Lade was (is?) a defender. Wow! I knew you guys were smart!
The battle against the might Whitecaps started at 11:00pm New York time, so SUB WATCH only caught the pathetic first half, leaving early to make the Panama Canal before rush hour. It turned out to be a good decision because the two subs both came in the 89th minute. You tease, Hans! I'm glad that I knocked off early or I would have been forced to witness the uninspiring Johnny Arteaga and--OH, GOD NO!--yep, you guessed it: Victor Palsson. Seriously, this guy must have bought whatever murder evidence Brian Nielsen was holding for the past 2 years.
After an inexcusable goal given up at the 0:30 mark, the Red Bulls played their most aggressive game of the season and were rewarded with a 3-2 come-from-behind win. On the sub tip, the game marked the glorious return of Fragile Frenchman Theirry Henry, who came in for Joel Lindpere on 69'. Henry had a positive impact on the game but, unfortunately missed a great opportunity solo in front of the keeper.
Backe used all three subs, raising the subs per game average to a respectable 2.1875. Let's see, who were those other subs… Oh, they were Stephen Keel and VICTOR EFFING PALSSON!!!! You may remember a prediction from a few columns past when SUB WATCH rated Palsson a BUY due to Backe's predilection for playing the Icelandic Ignoramus . Never has an accurate prediction felt so bad. On the bright side, SUB WATCH may have won several million dollars from a bookmaking establishment operating from an Horchata stand in downtown Quito.
With the ridiculously poor form that Toronto has been in, I'm tempted to predict 0 subs in a Red Bull drubbing. But that kind of statement usually comes just before a classic RBNY collapse (see Chicago). So let's look at the three most likely subs for this evening:
Mehdi is not making the trip due to still-unknown legal issues. That means for offensive creativity, Backe is looking whichever one of the Lade-Solli-Richards trio doesn't start. I'm going with LADE as the spark plug off the bench.
On the defensive end, it seems that, if Wilman "Don't Call Me William" Conde does not start, he should be the first choice off the bench, though an appearance from the nearly forgotten Tyler Ruthven would not be an unwelcome sight. Still, Backe loves hi some CONDE.
If Backe goes to a third sub, there are many interesting choices: from the speedy Jhonny Arteaga to the rarely seen Borrajo to Ryan Maduro, who Ireally think is---AUUUGHH! Who am I kidding?? It will be VICTOR PALSSON.
Wishing you a Victor-free victory, see you next time on SUB WATCH!