On Saturday night, Toronto FC will be in Foxborough, Massachusetts for a match against the New England Revolution. In what will already be a tough fixture due to the horrendous artificial surface at Gillette Stadium, Toronto FC will need to pick up some points. A slow start to the season has Toronto currently sitting in second-last in the Eastern Conference, just two points above D.C. United who have a game in hand. New England have lost two of their biggest attacking threats in recent times as both Kei Kamara and Lee Nguyen have left the club, to Vancouver and LAFC, respectively. Both used to cause serious problems for TFC, so many fans are glad to see them gone.
Greg Vanney has recently been using a 4-1-4-1 formation with Michael Bradley as one of the centre-backs, and although it has been somewhat successful (1 win, 1 draw, 1 loss), I don’t expect it to continue for long as a plethora of defenders begin to make their return from injury, allowing them to use their preferred 3-5-2 or 4-4-2 formations with Bradley in midfield.
Bono wasn’t up to his standards on Wednesday against Seattle, allowing a pair of goals that he could have done a better job at saving, although both were struck with a lot of pace. Handwalla Bwana’s goal was also offside, but the VAR conversation is not one I am going to have here. For that, head over here.
Auro, Gregory van der Wiel, Michael Bradley, Ashtone Morgan
This is the same back four used against Seattle. One major criticism of Greg Vanney that I have been seeing online over the last few days is the decision not to play Jason Hernandez. He was signed to play centre-back throughout this spell of injuries for TFC but has been limited to bench roles. Surely it would make sense to play an actual defender in defence, and move Michael Bradley back to his spot in the midfield.
Marky Delgado, Jay Chapman, Victor Vazquez, Ager Aketxe, Jonathan Osorio
This is the same midfield that started against the Sounders. As mentioned above, it isn’t impossible, although unlikely, that we see Jason Hernandez start on Saturday, probably at the expense of Jay Chapman, to allow Bradley back into his natural holding midfield role.
I have been really getting on Ager Aketxe’s back this season because I haven’t been impressed by his work rate. A lot of the time he was walking instead of running and taking stupid shots from the edge of the 18 yard box instead of looking for a pass. Against Seattle he was much better, possibly because he now has his compatriot Victor Vazquez beside him. The two linked up well and could be a lethal duo if they keep it up.
Giovinco has been Toronto’s best player so far this season (Jonathan Osorio a close second), and hasn’t had an awful game yet this season. He is passing and shooting well, and has played 90 minutes in the majority of the games Toronto has played. He nearly scored a beautiful free kick on Wednesday, and will be heavily relied upon on Saturday to control the offense in the absense of Jozy Altidore.