What looked to be a mostly reserve team lineup against the Montreal Impact in the Voyageurs Cup semi-finals has left head coach Greg Vanney with various options at his disposal in the upcoming slate of games. With many standout performances by some fringe players, it may be time to reconsider the distribution of minutes amongst the team.
Who Should Those Minutes Go To?
After solid defensive performances in both legs against Montreal, coupled with a handful of mediocre games by Justin Morrow this season, it could be time for Greg Vanney to consider some rotation at the left back position. Morgan was able to handle the pressure of going up against Didier Drogba two weeks in a row and provided some good attacking presence in the final third of the field. Morgan will likely still play two full matches in the Voyageurs Cup final, so he may have to wait until July until Vanney has a chance to begin rotating him regularly into the MLS starting 11.
After starting in the season opener against the Red Bulls, Lovitz has only been seen a handful of times late in matches for Toronto. In those matches, he would mostly feature in the team on the left side of the pitch. However, after seeing Lovitz play on the right flank against Montreal, it could provide Vanney with the flexibility to go back to playing a 4-3-3. For a team missing a true right midfielder/winger, Lovitz was able to bring pace and the ability to cross the ball in from the right side of the pitch.
It was a long time coming for the young Canadian striker when he made his first start for Toronto FC against the Montreal Impact. After shaking off some rust in the first half, Hamilton followed up by scoring a brace in the second half which proved to be enough to get the start in the second leg. Although he did not score, Hamilton did provide excellent holdup play for the team and pressure on the opposition's backline in the second game.
As Jozy Altidore continues to recover from his injury, it would be interesting to see if Hamilton is given the opportunity to start alongside Sebastian Giovinco. Even if Vanney were to revert back to a 4-3-3 with the absence of Altidore, it is interesting to consider what the formation would look like with Giovinco playing on the left side and with Hamilton in the centre.
Jonathan Osorio (In the Centre Attacking Midfield Position)
Not that Osorio wasn't getting minutes before, but his performance in the attacking midfield position certainly deserves a longer run of games as the season continues. Having not played there regularly since his rookie season with the team, it could provide Osorio with the chance to show off his offensive capabilities that he displayed in his first season. Just another option for Greg Vanney to consider as the season progresses.
With five games in the next two weeks, it is likely that all of the standouts from the semi-finals will play at least once or twice in this span. We probably won't see a true starting 11 from the team until July when captain Michael Bradley returns from international duty and the team only has to balance playing in one competition at a time. Until then, Greg Vanney will have time to ponder and experiment with the team before going into the stretch run of the season.