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Behind Enemy Lines: Three Questions with Waking the Red

We talked with Duncan Fletcher of Waking the Red about the upcoming match between Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC.


1) If the Forlan to Toronto rumors are true, what could he bring to the team to help improve TFC?

Well he'd clearly be an upgrade on what we've currently got going on up front, even at 34. Fitness won't be an issue as he's currently still playing in Brazil, but there's always the problem of fitting into MLS, look at Marco di Vaio last season and this. The other problem is of course that he'll be trying to do that at TFC, and any of our forwards will tell you that the service they get isn't really all that great. I'd imagine Forlan would be charged with helping out in that respect as well, probably playing as a secondary striker behind Robert Earnshaw or Danny Koevermans. It would be a very big gamble to bring him in, are TFC really at the stage that they might be good in the 1 1/2, maybe 2 1/2 seasons Forlan could plausibly be playing at a high level? Probably not. He'll sell some shirts though, and if he can help legitimise TFC a bit and attract some other younger players from South America, then that'd be an added bonus.

2) How has the Toronto offense had to adjust without Earnshaw the past couple of matches and how will his return impact the match Saturday?

It hasn't really adjusted all that much, as we never really played to Earnshaw's strengths to start off with. He was never going to do well as the main striker on a team that relies so much on the long ball. Early in the season he pounced on some mistakes, got some penalties and looked really good, since then he's dropped off a bit. Danny Koevermans would play the target man role better if and when he ever gets fully fit, and Jeremy Brockie is a useful bundle of energy which is handy for chasing down balls as much as we ask that of the forwards. I expect it'll be him and Earnshaw out there, maybe Justin Braun to be the target man if we're planning to bunker and play the long ball, which is very possible. Earnshaw being back does increase the likelihood that we might actually score form one of the few chances we'll get, as well as making sure the SKC defence is on it's toes. All dodgy backpasses gratefully received.

3) How would you rate Nelsen's job performance so far? Has he been what you expected or has he been different?

He's done an ok job really, considering the poisoned chalice he accepted. Off the pitch, he's shown he's his own man, dropping some popular players or those that Kevin Payne brought in with great fanfare, but his post game comments rely way too much on excuses, bad luck, refereeing and so on. On the pitch, he's what you'd expect from a former centre back. He's focused on the defensive side of things and done that reasonably well, 2 holding midfielders has been a constant, with high pressure being the ideal. If that's gone relatively well, there's still plenty of room for improvement up front as TFc struggle to create chances and, 3 goals against Montreal aside, struggle to score. I'm ok with that though, best to get the defence down first, building a foundation is one of Nelsen's favourite soundbites. All in all, for a rookie coach, he's doing alright. I'm cautiously optimistic.