While I'm going to guess a good 40 per cent of the crowd will be watching only one player this evening, there are five things to watch for in the game tonight and shockingly, one of them is actually Chad Barrett.
5. Chad Barrett - No. This isn't a revisionist history bit. Chad Barrett was and always will be a guy who got too much sympathy because he worked hard in practice. Finishing is the only thing that matters at the striker's position but during his time here, too many bought into the club's spin that he deserved special exception from that criticism because he was a hard worker. But, tonight, the reason to watch him is because, if he's in the game, it means Landon Donovan (questionable with a knee injury) is not. And as the Galaxy's most dynamic player (Donovan, not Barrett) his absence will have a dramatic impact on how L.A. attacks.
4. Toronto's back four - Aron Winter has tinkered with the starting back four over the first four games, using eight different players at defender. At some point he needs to define a final four, if just to improve the communication on the pitch. Ball watching and missed assignments plagued Toronto against San Jose and it resulted in Nana Attakora's halftime substitution. Toronto got away with the poor marking against a struggling San Jose team, but L.A. will expose those opportunities.
3. Juniho - In their First Kick opener against Seattle, I had the pleasure of witnessing first hand how talented this young Brazilian midfielder is. He is equally adept at ball winning as he is at eluding tackles but it's his first three steps that are the most impressive. A few of the more lead footed Toronto defenders would do well to just take the foul because there is no way they will keep level with his pace.
2. How LA matches up against Toronto's possession game - The Galaxy, while missing a few key players, got picked apart by Real Salt Lake a few weeks ago. I'm not suggesting Toronto is anywhere near RSL's quality but L.A. did show a willingness to get pulled out of position by their opponent's slow build and that's been one area where Toronto has done well this year. Portland and Chivas both got caught chasing the ball and their system got broke down because of it.
1. The Galaxy's defensive speed vs. Toronto offensive height - With L.A. only having one regular, starting defender over 6'0, you can be certain Toronto will continue to swing the ball into the box in search of the of Alan Gordon and Maicon Santos' height. Omar Gonzalez, who has only had a pair of starts this year, could find himself throw in to the mix to assist the tiny by comparison Sean Franklin, AJ DeLagarza and Leonardo. Former Toronto FC man Todd Dunivant will also get the start. Where they fail in the air though, L.A. makes up for with backl ine speed. Toronto could run into trouble if they try to keep it on the deck and play through balls beyond the back four. Outside of perhaps Martina, Toronto simply doesn't have the foot speed to compete with L.A. on that ground.
What are your predictions for tonight? Can Toronto take points off an L.A. team who has been inconsistent at times this year? Or is the Beckham show going to steal more than just a few teenage hearts?