TFC have been in dire straits for a while now. There have been (false) reports that a loss to the Lions would bring a coaching change (10 coaches in 9 seasons. 10.) We have talked about Vanney's tactical miscues at length here and elsewhere. The high fullbacks and lack of control in central midfield, coupled with a rash of injuries at the back without adjusting for said absences leaves many of us wondering what we're in for this year. The flip side of this, of course, is that we haven't played a home game yet. We've lost 4 in a row, none of which have been especially close. We've allowed 11 goals in 5 games. We haven't been good, plain and simple. But, hope springs eternal. We'll use that as the job posting title for a new club president.
Match Talking Points
Orlando City has Kaká. TFC has Giovinco. The gap in all-time class is bridged by the gap in age. The Atomic Ant has 3 goals, 2 assists. The former Ballon D'or winner has 3 goals, 1 assist. They are the players to watch. Orlando has some players that are more unknown quantities to many MLS fans - new acquisitions and USL holdovers. You can catch up on Orlando city in greater depth here.
We need to talk, Mark Bloom. Get yourself healthy and see if we can't get a win. We've been exploited down our right side for more than half of our total Goals Allowed. That's a glaring weakness. A terrifying one. Creavalle is back available for selection, which might be worse than playing Justin Morrow out of position. (Hey, Ashtone Morgan hasn't even been terrible so far!) Who plays front left for Orlando? Oh. Kaká. And Brek Shea overlapping? Perfect. That's just great.
On the positive side for TFC, we very well could have clawed a result back from Dallas last week had Luke Moore finished his chances or Giovinco had more space for the rest of the team on his tiny back. This week, Cheyrou is back fit, with Bloom likely available as well.
There's also the curious case of Jonathan Osorio, who hasn't looked sharp thus far this season. Playing a wider midfield player like Jackson from the start against Orlando may be on the cards, even just to shake the young Canadian awake.
TFC Starting XI
As TFC keep dropping points, their tactical complexity basically devolves into 4-4-2 with the fullbacks very high up the field. With Bloom out, it may end up exactly the same as last week.
Keys to the Match
Giovinco TFC needs to score more than Orlando. We really need a win, emotionally. TFC are no strangers to 5 game losing streaks, but we'd sure like to get a little less familiar. Also, for those still believing in the possibilities this season holds, see New England Revolution, 2014.
Tactically, Vanney needs to make some adjustments. Giovinco and Bradley need to connect more. Long balls out of the back to the shortest player on the field isn't exactly a sure-fire strategy. On the other side of the ball, TFC need to defend better. Much has been made by Kristian Jack of TSN (and others) about TFC not being able to cope with other teams when they are at their best. He's got a point - our opponents have more or less scored at will. An adjustment in the midfield, perhaps playing Collen Warner or Warren Creavalle as an out-and-out defensive midfielder should bring us closer to a clean sheet.
I blew last weeks Bold but Useless Prediction, but I'm undeterred. Now that I've singled him out, Jonathan Osorio will get his first goal of the season.
The game kicks off at 7 pm on Fox Sports 1 and TSN 2 on Sunday. Don't forget to keep up with all of WTR's game coverage and join me in the game thread to collective shake our heads.