On Saturday afternoon Toronto FC travel to Harrison, New Jersey to take on the high-flying New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls, currently 2nd in the Eastern Conference, sit just 4 points behind leaders Atlanta United after 29 matches. Toronto FC, just 3 days after losing the inaugural Campeones Cup to Tigres, will need to bounce back quickly as any dropped points from this point onwards will end their chances of getting a playoff spot.
To the surprise of many, Greg Vanney's starting eleven in the Campeones Cup was filled with plenty of regular starters, so TFC will have a similar lineup in this one. I think the 4-4-2 diamond formation is in order due to a glaring issue at centre-back that remains unresolved.
Bono was the losing keeper midweek, but it would be tough to blame him for the 3 goals that Tigres put past him, especially the own-goal by Eriq Zavaleta. In my lineup prediction for that match I predicted that Clint Irwin would start to rest Bono, but I guess Greg Vanney is adamant that the young American keeper will be ready to go on short rest.
Auro, Gregory van der Wiel, Eriq Zavaleta, Justin Morrow
Auro came off the bench against Tigres and looked lively, so I think there's a chance that Greg Vanney starts him in this game. Starting Auro at right-back would allow Vanney to play van der Wiel at centre-back, where he would be a big upgrade over the awful defending we saw mid-week, but also allow Vanney to remove Auro at some point by substituting him for a centre-back and shifting van der Wiel over to the right.
Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Marky Delgado, Victor Vazquez
Both Bradley and Osorio played against Tigres and had decent matches, receiving positive ratings from the fans in our Rate the Reds article (something that Bradley hasn't achieved very much this season compared to last year). Osorio will be looking to add to his incredible season with the help of perpetually-injured Victor Vazquez. Vazquez has found it difficult to stay off the trainer's table this year but when he's been healthy, has put out some good performances, like the one against LA Galaxy (which he left early).
Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
Sebastian Giovinco got a lot of criticism against Tigres after leaving the match with an "injury". The report from Kristian Jack was that he had cramps, which could make sense, but he didn't look in pain and didn't go straight down the tunnel as most injured players do. We can only hope that Giovinco was being truthful but we'll never know. Nevertheless, he should be able to play on Saturday and I expect him to be starting alongside Altidore, who apart from when fighting with the Tigres defenders, was pretty much invisible all match long.