I'm planning to do a more thorough "match preview" on Friday, but I just wanted to pose some questions raised by the possibility that both McTavish and Janicki will be sidelined against the Fire. With Fred and Quaranta still on the shelf . . .
(1) Do we stick with the 3-5-2? It didn't look good in the early going last week, but started getting more solid as the game progressed. Still, when the Massive Head Trauma Incident occurred things fell apart. Now, was that entirely down to the system or to who was missing? Do you trust Burch in a back three? Me neither. But what other options do you have? You could go with four at the back, but who are your center backs? Jakovic plus . . ?
(2) Who are your wide midfielders? Wallace certainly did enough in the second half to merit another shot, but who goes on the right if McTavish can't? With Quaranta out of the picture, I think you're looking at either the Bearded Bombardier (if he's able to go) or Boyzzzzzzz. Personally, I'm not sure Benny has the gas or the wheels to get the job done on the flank in a 3-5-2, but Boyzzzzzzz doesn't offer as much defensively. With Mapp likely to be operating on Chicago's left, we'll probably need some help for Namoff.
(3) What happens up top? Pontius was promising, but he's competing with Jaime for that spot. Also, I wasn't terribly impressed by Emilio last week and was wondering if some time on the pine would be a good thing.
Which leads us once again into the land of idle speculation. Anybody else feel like giving the roster a shot? For my money, if Janicki can't go, I see too many holes in the 3-5-2. Hell, I'm not convinced three at the back would be the smartest way to take on Chicago even if we had clean bills of health all around. My whiteboard would look something like . . .
And I shall call it . . . the Unbalanced Rhombus Push Left! Or that's what I'd call it in Football Manager. Gomez and Moreno have the freedom to exploit space on the attacking right flank with Olsen moving up in support but not flinging himself forward constantly as he has more defensive responsibilities and is pinched in slightly. Two big boys in the middle of defense to fight McBride for headers. It's not perfect, and there are alternatives. I like having Namoff at right back to keep Mapp in check, but he could also move inside if we don't trust Peters. Likewise, it may be wise to pack the midfield a bit, perhaps by bringing in Jacobson for Pontius and playing Jacobson-Simms-Olsen behind Gomez? Could Pontius and Moreno play up top together despite playing a similar game?
So what do you think? Does Tommy stick with the 3-5-2? Would you? How would you line up against Chicago? Have your say in the comments.