Toronto FC (8-11-7, 31 pts., 4th in Eastern Conference)
Head coach: Nick Dasovic, 1st year and recently replaced the fired Preki
Last week: Lost 3-2 to San Jose at home
Last year: 10-9-11, missed playoffs
KEY TORONTO PLAYERS
M/F Dwayne De Rosario — You have to start with him; he’s the heart and soul of the Canadian side. With 12 goals and three assists he’s having another standout season, but he hasn’t gotten any help so far. If Toronto is going to steal a result in Qwest, he will likely have a hand in it.
GK Stefan Frei — The youngster has played every minute in goal for his side and leads the league, by far, with 102 saves. He’s also Swiss, so maybe he’ll have some added advantage to stop the red-hot Blaise Nkufo. You never know.
F Chad Barrett — No reason to think the visitors won’t be going for the win, so I think all the team’s attacking options will be out there. Barrett is a guy that looks unstoppable at times and ordinary in others. Has the physical makeup to hang with the blue-collar Sounders backline.
Seattle F Nkufo v. Toronto D Nana Attakora — With four goals in the last two games, the Sounders’ DP is arguably the hottest player in the league right now. Playing on turf might make things tough as will Attakora, who is a talented defender but can be known to suffer a lapse or two.
Toronto M Julian de Guzman v. Seattle M Osvaldo Alonso — It’s no surprise that Toronto’s DP hasn’t taken the world by storm, but he’s still capable of making a big difference on the day. If he can hold his own with the Sounders stalwart in the middle — and that’s a big ‘if’ — it’ll be a huge boost the visitors.
Toronto desperation v. Seattle’s form — The Canadian side is down to its last life to keep playoff hopes alive. In fact there are elimination scenarios out there for them so expect this one to be feisty. On the other side, the Sounders have been playing very well recently (Columbus) and stealing results when they haven’t (Chicago).
A Seattle win would nearly suck out all the suspense from the playoff, which is not as much fun for a journalist, but I’m sure the team will take it. The home field advantage, turf and all, I think will cancel out the Toronto desperation.
Personally I think Fredy Montero is in store for a breakout game. Some reports around the league seem to suggest he’s in a slump, but I think that couldn’t be further from the truth. Judging him by his recent lack of goals is lazy, which he hasn’t been.
Here’s how I see it.
Sounders FC 2, Toronto FC 1
SEA — Fredy Montero (Steve Zakuani) 15′
TOR — Chad Barrett (un) 32′
SEA — Fredy Montero (Sanna Nyassi) 55′