Saturday, July 20, 2013

Matchday: Toronto FC v Red Bulls

Native Canadian TFC Midfielder, Jonathan Osorio
(artist's conception)
Red Bull fans may still be in a state of shock after the unexpected destructification of the then-Eastern Conference-leading Montreal Impact last weekend. The mighty Bulls put 4 goals on Montreal: a brilliant solo performance by Eric Alexander, a gorgeous assist from Espindola, a classic Cahill header and Peguy's first Red Bull goal on a PK all featured. Heading into the match, many would have been unsurprised if the result was reversed, so there was joy in Red Bullville, at least for a week. 

Today New York seeks to not only build on that success, but also string together consecutive wins for the first time since May 8 (!) as they take on TFC at BMO Field  (4:00 PM ET MSG, MLS match notes here). The Red Bulls could not have picked a better time for a trip northward, not only because of the oppressive heat wave blanketing the Metro area (see what I did there?), but also because Toronto is on a 5-game winless streak capped off by a loss to a 10-man Chivas.

Toronto's road woes have gotten a lot of attention, with over 300 minutes without a goal, but their home performance hasn't been much better. Toronto has 1 win in 9 home games--and that one on their March 9 home opener. So but if there's a chance for a Red Bulls road win, this is it. New York already proved they can win up in Canadia, having beaten Toronto 2-1 at BMO April 27.

Frankly, I don't know much about this Toronto team, but what I do hear can be summed up in 2 words: "They suck." You may want to keep your eyes on leading scorer Robert Earnshaw, a pesky striker who has enough skill and speed to make defenders look silly, on occasion. But what's this? Both Earnshaw and strike partner Danny Koevermans may be sidelined with knocks. Oh, also, Toronto just got rid of their starting center back and captain. Yeesh!

That means that, as so often is the case, the biggest threat to the Red Bulls this afternoon is, well, the Red Bulls. Sure the team has a shiny fresh coat of paint after Montreal, but there's some rough patches underneath. I'm sure many Red Bull fans are just waiting for a classic RBNY collapse.

It's time for predictions from The Viper's Nest crew, and Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) kicks things off:

Toronto has won just one home league match in a year. A year. Let's let that sink in...
Having said that, there us no team in MLS more skilled at making crappy teams look decent than we are. Remember Chivas a few years ago at home? Remember the home match against Vancouver a few weeks back (OK so maybe they weren't quite as bad as advertised). My point is that you can take nothing for granted with RBNY at the moment. Lately we've looked fairly brilliant at home and have been a toxic dumpster fire on the road. But I'm a fan, and being a fan sometimes requires leaps of faith. So despite their recent away game struggles I'm going for a 2-1 Red Bulls win against an epically awful TFC. And if RBNY don't get at least a point from this match? I don't see how you could classify that as anything but major failure.

Last week, I predicted a 0-3 loss. Happily, the team shattered my expectations. Without swinging the pendulum too far the other way, I have to think New York will take all three points given the complete disarray TFC seem to be in. Toronto can score at home, but if Earnshw isn't playing, I'm looking at a 2-0 win for the good guys.

Big Viper takes us home:

After the home game this past weekend, where we stuffed one of the better teams in the League 4-0, I'm going to predict an away loss to one of the worst teams in the League.  I'll say 2-1 to "The TFC".  C'mon - you know we're going to lose!

And on that downer, we bid you farewell. COME ON YOU RED BULLS!!!!

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