Strange times for a TFC fan. If you look closely, you can see "Toronto FC" written next to the 4th place spot in the Eastern Conference. There's a Toronto FC player in the top 5 for goals and assists. Things are, strangely, looking promising. We've proven that we can win without Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, who will be away on Gold Cup duty in a few short weeks. But, while they're still around, its important to pick up points, especially at home.
Match Talking Points
Players are coming back into the fold after time away with injury. Collen Warner is 100% fit and looks likely to start against NYCFC. Altidore made a cameo appearance against DC United, and should start now that he's fully recovered. Robbie Findley is back to training and may find himself in the 18, though likely not in the 11. Even Mark Bloom and *gasp* Steven Caldwell are close to a return, though this week is likely too soon.
Then there's the form. TFC have won 3 in a row, including against East-leaders DC United away from home two weeks ago. Vanney seems to have found a style of play and tactical approach that suits the team. Players who we hadn't expected to see much of this year - particularly Ashtone Morgan and Eriq Zavaleta - are in terrific form.
NYCFC are no slouch, though. True, they've only got 3 wins from 15 games and have looked absolutely awful at points this season, they are in form and have players who are dangerous.
Toronto FC XI
Even with everyone back into the fold, I'd expect Vanney to stick with what's worked. Bradley just had two excellent games against the Netherlands and Germany playing in the advanced central midfield position. I'd expect Findley to draw in for Mannella, with the 18 otherwise unchanged. Joe Bendik looks set to get the #1 spot back from Chris Konopka.
Keys to the Game
NYCFC have looked disorganized and vulnerable at the back - something TFC will have to exploit early and often. Giovinco and Altidore have the chemistry to get it done, and Michael Bradley vs. Andrew Jacobson in midfield reads as a mismatch.
New York don't have the same dazzling star-power TFC have - David Villa and Mix Diskerud are the only real standouts. They've gotten good performances from young players, though. Kwadwo Poku and Tommy McNamara have each delivered good performances in recent MLS and U.S Open Cup play (their penalty defeat to the Cosmos notwithstanding) and they will be relied upon to keep NYCFC's attack ticking.
The match kicks off at 7 p.m at BMO Field, and you can catch it on MLS Live or Sportsnet 360. As always, WTR has you covered for anything and everything TFC. Check here for any more news around the game.