Poor visibility and bizarre camera angles have made it difficult to take in Toronto FC's preseason from a far, but at 1-2-0 it is pretty safe to say they have been underwhelming. Only having scored one goal so far, the offense that is supposed to be the major difference between this season and last has been stagnant at best. Today they will hope to finally get that offense engaged, just a week away from the start of the MLS season.
While their game earlier this week against the New York Red Bulls was all about speculating who would be in their March 7 lineup based on who wasn't playing, today it is a little more clear. The team starting today is essentially who will be playing in that match against the Vancouver Whitecaps.
#TFCLive starting XI: Bendik, Creavalle, Caldwell, Perquis, Morrow, Bradley, Cheyrou, Osorio, Findley, Giovinco, Altidore.— Toronto FC (@torontofc) February 28, 2015
#TFCLive Subs: Konopka, Bloom, Morgan, Hagglund, Zavaleta, Chapman, Delgado, Jackson, Warner, Lovitz, Dike, Moore.— Toronto FC (@torontofc) February 28, 2015
There is only one surprise to that lineup, and it has been the same throughout the preseason: Warren Creavalle ahead of Mark Bloom at the right back position. Considering performances last year, most considered Bloom to have his position locked up if he wasn't scooped up in the expansion draft. Instead, Creavalle looks like he has taken the spot, at least for now. By all accounts he has done well in it throughout the preseason.
The midfield will be the most important element of today's game for Toronto FC, as the team tries to improve the chemistry between Michael Bradley, Benoit Cheyrou, Jonathan Osorio and Sebastian Giovinco. The group had its moments against HB Koge, but also looked out of sync quite often. This is especially true of Osorio and Giovinco who have at times stepped on each other's feet.
The bench is interesting as well, as Jay Chapman may well have earned himself a spot with the big club this season after an impressive preseason display. Most of his contemporaries, Jordan Hamilton, Clement Simonen and the like are not playing.
Follow along in the comments section below. As always, Waking the Red will have in depth coverage of the match, and the preseason in general, later today.