Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union
4:00 PM Eastern
BMO Field Toronto, ON
The Headliner: The Gold Cup Standard
After missing just two games, Toronto FC will be getting a number of its Gold Cup contingent back surprisingly early. Both are as a result of some unfortunate situations, but situations that will mean all three returning players are fired up.
For Jonathan Osorio and Ashtone Morgan, they saw Canada crash out of the Gold Cup without a single goal scored. Osorio was stuck the bench for large parts of the tournament while Morgan never saw the field.
This will give both plenty of reason to want to make a strong statement today against the Philadelphia Union. Both are fairly rested as well, which will help.
Meanwhile, Jozy Altidore was cut by the American national team ahead of the quarterfinal round of the Gold Cup. He will be looking to show the United States national team that they made a mistake with a big game today.
All of these additions: one in each third of the park, will serve as significant reinforcement. While Michael Bradley is still with the United States Toronto will have essentially everyone back today.
Key to the Match: Taking Back the Middle
With Osorio back in the lineup Toronto will be able to revert to their tried-and-true midfield diamond formation that has brought them so much success. The last two games with plenty of inexperienced and less than ideal formations they have been outplayed in the centre of the park.
Changing that will be key to getting a victory today, as the Philadelphia Union are no exactly the strongest team in the centre of the park. Toronto should be allowed to assert their influence on the game through the middle.
Osorio's return should mean Benoit Cheyrou moves back into his role at the base of the midfield pyramid. This is good news as the experiment that saw him pushed up the field largely failed as Toronto was far too exposed at the back.
The young Canadian, on the other hand, will bring plenty of creativity as he looks to get his first goal of the season.
ICYMI - The @BacardiCanada Starting XI: Bendik; Morgan, Zavaleta, Perquis, Morrow; Cheyrou, Warner, Osorio, Delgado; Giovinco, Altidore.— Toronto FC (@torontofc) July 18, 2015
With the suspension of Chris Konopka against New York City FC, Joe Bendik will get a chance to win back the net tonight. His last appearance was in a clean sheet against Orlando City SC on April 26, after which an injury forced him out of the lineup.
The defense will be back to its regular self, with Eriq Zavaleta drawing back in for Nick Hagglund who had an emergency appendectomy earlier this week.
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