Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact
7:30 PM Eastern
Stade Saputo Montreal,QC
Sportsnet.Ca / Sportsnet World
First off, big credit to Sportsnet for making these games accessible to supporters from coast to coast. This is an important tournament for the development of club soccer in this country, and the more eyes it can get the better.
The Headliner: How Much Will Toronto FC invest in this competition?
The question from the outset of this tournament is also how much Toronto will balance the Canadian championship with its goal of the MLS playoffs. The answer can almost always be found in which players are on the field.
Let's face it, Toronto are barely judged by how they do in the Canadian Championship, this season will be measured exclusively on whether or not they make the playoffs. This is always going to factor into how Greg Vanney plays his team for the competition.
However, upon looking at the team it is actually a pleasant surprise. Considering injuries, one could argue that five starters are on the field for today's match. One of them is even Micheal Bradley, a designated player. On the bench three more are available should things go south.
Toronto actually has a decently deep roster this year as well, as Collen Warner, Daniel Lovitz, Luke Moore and Warren Creavalle were all starters at some point this year or last. This isn't exactly trotting out the academy team like some argued they would do. It is a nice balance of players that makes sense considering the competition.
First Impressions: A Look at Zavaleta, Lovitz, Delgado and others
Considering the fact that it is only seven games into the MLS season, and the injuries thankfully have yet to creep up from the heavily infected back end of the field, there are a couple of player's who Toronto supporters haven't gotten a very good look at yet.
Daniel Lovitz quickly became a fan favourite last year with his abilities on the ball, and started sporadically throughout the year as an option on the wing. Tonight he will have a chance to show why it is he and not Jackson who should be starting at the left midfield spot.
Eriq Zavaleta, now well known as Greg Vanney's nephew, was brought in from the Seattle Sounders in the offseason. However, he played most of his league games with Chivas USA, where he was loaned in impressed. An injury has meant little field time for him so far this year, but that will change as he starts in the centre of defence tonight.
Marky Delgado was another ex-Chivas USA player acquired by Toronto FC in the offseason. He has been highly touted, but little is known about him, or what skills he brings to the table. Tonight Toronto fans will get a look at the American youth international.
Besides them, several Toronto FC II standouts will be on the bench for this game and could see time in the match depending upon scoreline. Jordan Hamilton has long been waiting in the wings for his chance to show what he can do with the top team, and may get it tonight.
Jay Chapman was up with the main team to start the year, but was quickly sent down. Meanwhile, Chris Mannella is the captain of TFCII, and has already made his senior international debut with Canada.
I have already broken down Toronto FC's roster at length, but here is the rest of it. It is worth mentioning the fact that only one Canadian will be starting. The thing is that there will be far more on the bench, however, as Ashtone Morgan plus the three aforementioned young Canadians are on the bench.
Okay, so the Impact are still taking this seriously, and for obvious reasons. Their starting lineup Canadian count is two, with Max TIssot and Patrice Bernier. They, however, have no Canadians on the bench.