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).
It's been a long week, hasn't it? And my long I mean excruciatingly, unendingly, frustratingly long. Although to be fair, I don't really remember Monday, and Wednesday was mostly just an extension of Tuesday's post-match feeling. Oh, what a feeling.
At any rate, today means redemption. I mean, only a sliver of redemption, really, but a chance at even more redemption. Not that losing tonight would make that impossible, but it might make it more difficult. You see, I suspect that our heads haven't dropped precisely because we've got this match to play, and the playoffs after that, but a terrible result and they may just return to their down-turned form. That doesn't sound so hot.
Anyway, how we approach this match will be important. If we approach it as we have our last chunk of matches, I'm not worried. If we go in expecting a win — something I don't think we'll do — we're probably doomed. If we go in expecting a loss, we're definitely doomed. Anyway, metering expectations is important, right? Right.
Let's run through the lineup, shall we?
In goal, number 18 — Nick Rimando! (Did you get the yelling part of that? Should I retype it in all caps? I don't know about this blogging thing…) Hopefully his dominance on set pieces will not be tested, but I'm willing to bet that his long-range stopping ability will be.
At the back, we're likely to see Beltran, Wingert and Borchers, and one of Olave and Watson-Siriboe. For my part, I'd rather use Watson-Siriboe in there: He's showed well when on the pitch, and that deserves rewarding. Olave, well, hasn't. Not so much, at least. Maybe it's the burden of high expectations that anchors my opinion of Olave — I don't know. Regardless, form aside, if we want Olave in the playoffs, we might have to baby him a bit. We'll see on this one.
In the middle, I suspect we'll see Beckerman, Johnson and Morales, and one of Gil and Grabavoy. At this point, I'd take Gil and use Grabavoy as a substitute later on — Gil tends to tire, and Grabavoy could use a little easing in. It'll be a little disappointing for Ned, no doubt, but again: Playoffs and what.
Up front, Saborio and Espindola. If there's any concern over Espindola, it'll be Paulo Jr. — but I don't think there is any. It would be quite nice to see them grab some goals to delight the crowd and help their form.
Anyway, I'm sure I've typed the word "form" just about enough now, so let's get on with the match.