KANSAS CITY, KS - JUNE 16: Head coach Paul Mariner of Toronto FC looks on from the sidelines during the MLS game against Sporting KC on June 16, 2012 at Livestrong Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Just four days after a tough victory over FC Dallas in the Texas Derby, the Dynamo will be back to work tomorrow night at BBVA Compass Stadium. This time, it's Toronto FC, an Eastern Conference foe who has put the struggle in struggling so far this season.
This will be Paul Mariner's second match in charge of Toronto after replacing Aron Winter less than two weeks ago. You have to feel for him having to begin his new job with consecutive road games against Sporting KC and Houston, but then again, there will be no pity for the opponents here.
Points are essential as always and this is a match the Dynamo should win. This isn't a statement made out of cockiness or arrogance, it's a simple fact. If the Dynamo are one of the best teams in the East, you have to defeat the poor teams, especially at home.
Honestly, who knows what to expect from this Toronto FC team tomorrow? They've been on the road for a few days, having played in Kansas City over the weekend and then came directly on to Houston...which didn't turn out too well. It was well publicized Monday that three TFC players (Luis Silva, Miguel Aceval and Nick Soolsma) were arrested after a drunken altercation outside a club, just another unwanted distraction and issue for this club to deal with. While those three players have been sent home, who knows what kind of mindset the rest will have at kickoff tomorrow?
I'm trying really hard not to completely write off TFC. You can't do that, but if there was ever a situation where anything less than three points would be a borderline embarrassing disaster, this is it.
Kinnear will have one required adjustment to make with Calen Carr down for a couple weeks with a hamstring injury, so expect Colin Clark to return to the starting lineup on the right side of the midfield. That ,or I guess he could put Macoumba Kandji there. We'll see. Other than that, it's just a question of some possible rotations like Andre Hainault replacing Jermaine Taylor or Corey Ashe. It will come down to what Kinnear sees in training and if any players picked up some undisclosed knocks against Dallas.
The other question mark will be Brian Ching. I'm sure he'll probably start, but given the short turnaround and another match on Saturday, Kinnear might rest the captain on Wednesday, especially since Saturday's match is at Montreal, where you know he'll be motivated to play and do well. There's depth up front and Kandj has been playing well lately. Plus, Cam Weaver looked good in the reserve match on Saturday, so this might be a good time to give Ching the night off. We'll see.
Predicted Lineup: Hall; Hainault/Taylor, Boswell, Cameron, Ashe; Moffat, Clark, Watson, Davis; Bruin, Ching/Kandji
Predicted Score: 2-0 Dynamo