NICK LEYDEN - Thursday, April 7, 2011
Tony Taylor and Estoril will travel to northern Portugal for a Saturday matchup with Leixões, with whom they are currently deadlocked in the standings.
With just seven Liga Orangina games remaining, Leixões and Estoril find themselves tied in sixth place, seven points out of a promotion spot.
Both teams harbored legitimate hopes of moving to Portugul's top flight when the season began and both will know that a loss this weekend would effectively eliminate their already slim chances.
Florida native Tony Taylor will likely retain his role as Estoril's instant offense off the bench in the second half, though fellow substitute striker Clodoaldo may steal some extra minutes after his dramatic equalizing goal last week against Trofense.
The visitors will be without the physical presence of Canadian-born Steven Vitória in the center of defense, whose suspension will make it even harder for the once stout defense to rediscover their form after surrendering two goals in each of the last three games.
Vitória's absence means Tiago Bernardi will return to the lineup in the Estádio do Mar for just his sixth league start of the season.
Estoril's only other players likely to be unavailable will be Greg Garza, who has been in Guatemala for the U-20s supremely disappointing failure to qualify for the upcoming World Cup, and goalkeeper Cleber.
Leixões, who defeated Os Canarinhos in the first meeting this season, will hope to take advantage of the suddenly leaky Estoril defense and continue a four game undefeated streak.