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Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire: Game Thread

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Follow along here as TFC head to Chicago and desperately try to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Martin Bazyl

Chicago Fire vs Toronto FC
Toyota Park, 8:30 PM Eastern
Sportsnet 360, Sportsnet World

Who are ya? Who are ya?  etc etc.  This is apparently the pressing concern right now as TFC search for an identity, some clarity about who they are. The fact that the Greg Vanney era has so far brought us 0 goals, 2 defeats, Defoe still in England, and the entire organisation including all the players and coaches, minus Michael Bradley and Vanney, thrown under the bus as having given up doesn't suggest there's a good answer to that question.

Is it time to panic? Well probably yes, at least as far as this season's concerned, TFC are running out of games if they want to get a playoff spot, lose this one and things will be very very bleak. As far as Vanney's abilities as a head coach are concerned, well it's too soon to tell, it would be very harsh to write him off on the basis of the 2 games against Philadelphia.  After a full week of training and preparation, and with Justin Morrow able to return and bolster the defence, I'll be hoping to see noticeable improvement, if not a good result. After another full week, anything less than a win against Chivas USA and I'll be very ready to write him off.

Being smarter without the ball would be a good start. If you know what you're doing, aggressively pressing and trying to force turnovers is a very good idea, see Kansas City for the best example of that in MLS. What we've seen in these 2 games hasn't been all that smart, too many people have gone forward, breakaway chances have been many and the undermanned and out of position defence never looked confident when exposed. TFC were helped by Philly generally being hopeless at taking advantage but sooner or later some team will, for example I could see L.A absolutely crushing TFC if they're still playing the same way when they meet.

With the ball, Vanney seems to be emphasising passing forward and putting the opposition under pressure quickly rather than keeping possession via the safe backpass that just allows the opposition to organise. Again in theory, if done at the right time and if you've got the skill to do it, a very good idea.  If you don't have the skill, and are really trying to force things that aren't quite there, it's a recipe for turnovers. Is that kind of game the way to get the best out of Gilberto, which will be key to getting anything going here? He certainly didn't look good last week in the home game, often choosing to flick on balls that were coming to him, with very little success, rather than try hold the ball or play it backwards. His improved form coincided with the time that Nelsen was trying more of a possession style, hopefully Vanney going back to basics won't mean a permanent downturn in his fortunes.

Anyway, for a wide variety of pre game reading and listening, check out our storystream for the game here, know your enemy, how you doin'? VMP, smarter than mariner and a full preview, all right there.  We'll have team news when it hits twitter and commentary and probably a general sense of hoplessness and depression throughout the game. Join us then.