Headliner: The Road Home
In less than a month, Toronto FC will play their home opener against FC Dallas at BMO Field. Today, they kick off the second half of their eight-game road trip to start the season with a game against the New England Revolution.
Toronto played fairly well through a 1 win 1 draw 2 losses to start the season, but they will need to repeat that or better to return home with any momentum. That starts today against New England, a team that has also had their fair share of struggles to start the season with 1 win, 3 draws and a loss.
During last year's season-opening road trip, it was the second half where Toronto FC was able to put things together. After losing four of their first five matches, they would win their last two matches of the road trip. This would mean a solid 9 points from 7 games, after just 3 from the first 5.
Toronto will be hoping for a similar run in their last four games this year, but their schedule is arguably more difficult. Today, TFC play a New England team that could wake up at any momentum and return to form. They then have to play D.C. United, who will be desperate after a slow start, the Montreal Impact and defending MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers.
Luckily for Toronto FC, they will be getting designated player Jozy Altidore back for this match, and the American is expected to make his first start of the season. The team is mostly healthy otherwise, with the exception of Tsubasa Endoh who did not travel with the team.
Key to the Match: A different approach
The return of Altidore means a new formation for Toronto FC, as for today's game they have abandoned the 4-3-3 and will be playing a 4-4-2. This strategy will allow Toronto to add an extra player in the middle, where they have struggled so far this season.
A suspension to Benoit Cheyrou after a pair of yellow cards last week against Colorado means Marky Delgado will start today in the midfield. He will be joined by Jonathan Osorio, and midfield mainstays Michael Bradley and Will Johnson.
That group will have to figure out how to deal with New England's midfield five, in order to get service to Altidore and Giovinco. This is something Toronto's strike force has been fairly starved of all season, especially Giovinco who has often been isolated in the middle. As such the team has not scored in their last two matches.
Toronto FC: Irwin, Morrow, Moor, Perquis, Beitashour; Osorio, Bradley, Johnson, Delgado; Giovinco, Altidore
Subs: Roberts, Hagglund, Bloom, Morgan, Lovitz, Chapman, Babouli
New England: Shuttleworth; Tierney, Goncalves, Farrell, Watson; Caldwell, Koffie; Rowe, Fagundez, Nguyen; Bunbury
Location: Gilette Stadium, Foxborough, United States
Kick-off time: 4:00 PM Eastern
SB Nation OPPOSITION Blog: The Bent Musket
Available streaming: TSN Go
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.