The Toronto Demon Deacons

If you have spent the last few months focusing on MLS and suddenly find yourself aimlessly wandering your home, with no particular interest in who Nick Saban is coaching today, who Dynamo owner Oscar De la Hoya is fighting tonight and how much time O.J. will be spending behind bars, you may find yourself with two choices today:

1) Accompany some woman to a mall and spend the entire afternoon shopping for a present for her shrewish gargoyle of a mother who doesn't think you're even remotely good enough for her daughter OR

2) Discover a sudden compelling - even overwhelming - passion for NCAA soccer.

Your choice, weenie boy.

And if, by some odd chance, you did a quick check this morning and noticed that your hangy-down manparts are still intact, then here's a quick rundown on what you'll need to know as you settle into your very masculine Barcalounger:

Wake Forest(1) vs. South Florida(8):

Defending national champion Wake, who you probably last saw treating Ohio State like a rented mule in last year's College Cup Final, is back for more.

If you're an MLS fan - and who, other than Steve "Girlie Man" Cohen isn't? - this is the one you just can't miss, as Wake could have as many as five or six first round draft picks on their roster.

Put another way, this outfit (the Deacons went 20-1-1, scoring an NCAA best 76 goals while giving up only 16) would mercy-rule Toronto FC by halftime. Put even another way, given all the draft picks Mo has stockpiled, this may actually BE Toronto FC in four months.

As for South Florida, well, they're really happy to be here. They'll always treasure the memories.

A lot of people will be watching last years' Final Four sensation Marcus Tracy, who would have been a first-rounder, and quite possibly the first pick, if he'd taken the GenA offer in last year's draft. Fast, strong and lethal, if Seattle doesn't take him #1 the only reason will be because he's in Europe.

Then there's senior midfielder Sam Cronin, who has started every single game Wake has played in the last four years. He can score (8 goals, 3 of them gamewinners) he can dish and he can defend.

Which brings us to the third of Wake's three Herrmann Trophy semifinalists (giving them 20% of the total list) Junior forward Cody Arnoux.

All he managed to do this season was average 1.65 points per game and 0.70 goals per game by hitting for 14 goals and 5 assists (33 points) including 13 goals in a 10-game stretch.

And tha leaves out Junior Zack Schilawski, who scored two goals in the Deacon's 7-0 sack-stomp of Dartmouth in the quarters, that being his third two-goal performance of the season, as well as Junior Keeper Akira Fitzgerald who had to make all of three saves to grab his 12th clean sheet of the campaign.

It also completely ignores ACC Defender of the Year sophomore Ike Opara, who many people thought was ready for MLS a year ago, AND sophomore midfielder Corben Bone, who may be the best player on the team, as well as possible first round senior Michael Lahoud, who can play anywhere in the front seven, and All-ACC freshman team defender Danny Wenzel, a lock-down, set-it-and-forget-it back line monster.

Other than that, the cupboard is pretty much bare.

For South Florida, well, like I said, they're really happy to be here. Their strength is in the back, in the person of senior defender Yohance Marshall, fronted by midfielder Kevon Neaves, whose fitness is very much in doubt die to an ankle strain.

Up front, they have a very credible attack bookended by junior Zak Boggs and senior Jordan Seabrook. Sophomore GK Jeff Attinella is a good one, but he's going to need to morph into Brad Friedel for USF to have a chance.

Like most of Wake Forest's opponents, USF's goal is to simply stay alive long enough to get to kicks. The Deacons come at you in waves, and shots come flying from all over the field, like hail in a hurricane. The only chance South Florida - or anybody else - has stems from the fact that Wake sends so many people forward on every posession. Sometimes it looks like there are 15 of them, circling your penalty area like vultures scouting out the Donner party.

So you try and withstand the onslaught and look for that golden-fleece, the "Quick Transition" counterattack goal that evens the match.

The problem with that is simply that Wake has so much speed that by the time you gather in the ball, the same wave of players who blew into your defending third a moment ago suddenly appear in their own.

Don't miss these guys. Mo Johnston sure won't