The Headliner: It has been a while.
Toronto FC hasn't beaten the LA Galaxy in Major League Soccer play since 2008 when they bested them twice. There was that 2012 CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final where Toronto came out on top, but for the most part, they have been stomped on by league royalty.
The last three meetings between the two clubs have seen Toronto FC outscored by a margin of 9-2, including a 4-0 loss in LA last season. The Galaxy again boasts a threatening offence to Toronto FC, the league's best, and if Toronto isn't in top shape defensively things could get out of hand quickly.
The good news for Toronto is that the architect of last year's blowout, Robbie Keane who had a hat trick in that match, is away with Ireland. But the Galaxy still has a number of dangerous attackers who could do enough damage to get three points.
For Toronto, it is the return of Sebastian Giovinco that could lead them to victory. The atomic ant has missed most of Toronto's last three games with an adductor injury and his return to health will be key for Toronto. The Italian will be looking to put his Euro snub behind him, and get what could be another MVP season back on track. He currently has eight goals and five assists and has had a goal or an assist on all but one of the goals TFC has scored in MLS play.
Key to the Game: Defense first
There is always the temptation when playing at home to go forward whenever possible. After all, the home fans paid to watch the team score, not defend for 90 minutes and see out a result. But Toronto FC has to be at least a little bit careful today.
Toronto FC can't afford to give any fuel to the elite LA Galaxy offensive unit, if they do this could be a long night for the home side. Instead, it is important that they take care of defensive responsibilities first, maintain structure and then move the ball forward as a unit.
The club should have enough quality in the final third to create chances, especially with Giovinco returning. Ideally, they will only need one or two goals to get the result today. They can't allow the Galaxy to score more than that or risk going winless for a fifth straight game and another plunge down the Eastern Conference standings.
Toronto FC: Irwin; Beitashour, Moor, Zavaleta, Morrow; Cheyrou, Delgado, Osorio, Endoh; Giovinco, Hamilton
Subs: Bono, Williams, Perquis, Hagglund, Chapman, Johnson, Babouli.
LA Galaxy: Rowe; DLG, Steres, Van Damme, Cole; Husidic, De Jong, Larentowicz, Magee; Gordon, Lletget
Location: BMO Field Toronto, ON
Kick-off time: 7:30 PM Eastern
SB Nation OPPOSITION Blog: LA Galaxy Confidential
Available TV: Sportsnet 360
Available streaming: Sportsnet Go
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