What did our beloved Claret and Cobalt do the evening of March, 10th? They did what they trained for. They did what they most wanted. They did what they are capable of. They “came to score” (The Aggrolites).
I think my fingers have fallen off from continually typing "do-or-die." Over and over, but such has been the way of things since, well, we lost to Herediano at their place. That quality hasn't changed, but my confidence? Well, that's certainly better than it was in the summer.
Anyhow, let's not focus on confidence. It'll only give me heartburn. I mean, not literal heartburn, just the sort of heartburn you get when you're far too stressed about something. Or stressed the proper amount about something, which just happens to be a great deal.
All that said, there's not much we can do but wait now. And talk about it, of course. Let's do that last one.
The following players will need to be absolutely on key: All of them, obviously. In particular? Chris Wingert and Tony Beltran. Herediano is skilled out wide, and as they exhibited in training last night, they were focusing efforts there.
Additionally, they focused efforts on distance shooting, so we'll need Nick Rimando to be at his best (which he usually is) and the midfield to close down any chances quickly. This means Kyle Beckerman may sit a little further back, and Will Johnson and his right-sided partner will be called into action. Who's that right-sided partner? Well, I'd love for it to be Ned Grabavoy, but I suspect it'll be Luis Gil.
It'll be interesting.
Anyway, how do you approach a match like this? We have to score, but if we concede, we have to score a lot. Three goals if they score one — yeah. A lot. I guess if they score, we'll see plenty of attack, so… maybe that's good, or at least entertaining.
Anyway, prediction time.
Rimando. Of course.
In the back, I'm suspicious that Olave won't start, even if he's deemed "OK" — so: Beltran, Borchers, Schuler, Wingert. Schuler's impressed me this season, injury aside, and I think he would do well against Herediano. Beltran and Wingert will be key, as above. I reject any supposition that we should drop in Mansally for his attacking bent, as he's just not anywhere near Wingert's defensive level.
In the middle, Beckerman, Johnson, Gil, Morales. Again, Grabavoy's only just started hitting full training sessions, and I'd be surprised if he was ready to go. I'd absolutely love to be proven wrong. Beckerman and Johnson have a great understanding, and perhaps Gil can jump in on that. Tracking back will absolutely be key.
Up front — *gulp* — Espindola and Paulo Jr., as both may be fit. Espindola trained fully yesterday, and that's a very, very good sign. If he's not good to go, Braun and Paulo Jr., as Bonfigli showed about, well, nothing last week.
Right, enough rambling. Time to get out there.