To some (not likely any MLS fans north of the border) the TFC-IMFC games are not a rivalry. Given the fact that TFC is bringing over 3,000 supporters to an away match (a league record) shows that these individuals must have their heads buried in a pitch somewhere- likely in Orange County.Even new Head Coach Schällibaum weighed in on the importance of this match.
“I’m looking forward to playing our first game in front of our home supporters.The stadium has a lot of tradition and to have a crowd of 40,000 people behind you instead of against you is very special. The rivalry between the two teams is good because it creates competition and brings a lot of emotion.”
TFC comes off of a victory against Sporting Kansas City where their offensive production was shouldered by Earnshaw, a skillfull Welsh striker. Although I don't predict he or Bekker will find an easy going against Nesta and Ferrari, the Reds are coming into The Big O with confidence.
The Impact will play nearly at full strength with only Mapp listed as questionable in the starting XI. Should he not play, Romero is likely to fill the void, which is not exactly a bad thing.The key to the game will be wing play. Last week, we saw a midfield that struggled to find continuity and turned the ball over in that part of the pitch. TFC will hope to exploit that this week.
Davy Arnaud also weighed in on the midfield issues, “we are expecting a tough match. But, we don’t have to change our style that much at home. It’s normal that on the road you concede some possession, but we want to have more possession of the ball now at home.”
Until we see better continuity of passes and build up play in the midfield, the wings are where the Impact will get most of their points this season. The atmosphere at The Big O will help Bernier and co, if they do the year two Impact may look more dominant at home.
Final Score Prediction
1-0 IMFC Victory