On Friday evening, TFC return home to BMO Field for their third league game of the 2019 season, and the first with new designated player Alejandro Pozuelo.
There are plenty of questions as to how Greg Vanney will be able to keep his wide players, and use central midfielders, and the best solution for that seems to be some sort of a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Alex Bono has had a decent start to his 2019 league campaign, allowing three goals in two games. That may not sound impressive, but when you consider how those goals went in, it tells a different story. Two of the three goals have been from penalty shots, which falls more on the players that gave them away than him. You have a 50/50 chance at guessing which way the penalty taker will go, so penalties aren’t really a true reflection of his goalkeeping so far. The other goal, the second against the New England Revolution, took a deflection off Auro and slipped by him. There wasn’t really a lot he could do to stop the shot, but his 4 saves so far this season show that he also hasn’t been tested much. A clean sheet against this David Villa-less NYCFC team would do wonders for his (and his team’s) confidence going forward.
Justin Morrow, Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Auro
The Chris Mavinga/ Laurent Ciman partnership has been a shaky one so far, and while I think there is a chance that they both start on Friday night, I think Greg Vanney should opt for Drew Moor over Ciman, because of his defensive stability. Moor’s strength is organizing and leading from the back, something that Ciman and Mavinga have struggled to do on their own.
Justin Morrow and Auro were more than impressive in the Revolution game, making runs up the wings and delivering some great crosses. Morrow’s cross in the 80th minute was the most important one of the game, finding Jozy Altidore, who smashed home the winning goal.
Alejandro Pozuelo, Jonathan Osorio, Nick DeLeon, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado
Friday will be the first game in a TFC shirt for Alejandro Pozuelo. The newest designated player for the Reds, Pozo will definitely get some playing time, but how much he gets is yet to be determined. I think he gets the start to keep his momentum going, but I don’t think he’ll play all 90.
On either side of him, I think we’ll see Jonathan Osorio and Nick DeLeon.
Osorio, not really a wide player, would likely move inside to help pull the attacking strings with Pozuelo, allowing Justin Morrow a bit more freedom to roam up the pitch and cross the ball in from the left.
Nick DeLeon would likely remain out wide on the right, but could drop a few balls off to Auro, who would make some overlapping runs.
At the base of midfield will likely be Marky Delgado and Michael Bradley. Delgado missed the game against the Revolution, but should be able to play tonight. Another option to pair up with Bradley is new signing Richie Laryea, who joined the club about a week ago.
Speaking of Michael Bradley, he played all 90 minutes for the United States on Tuesday against Chile and did this:
Jozy Altidore returned to action against the New England Revolution in very Jozy Altidore fashion. After entering the pitch just ten minutes earlier to a standing ovation, Altidore got on the end of a perfect cross from Justin Morrow, before putting the ball in the back of the net. Ayo Akinola’s run at the near post opened up the space needed to for Altidore, and the striker made no mistake, sending BMO Field into a frenzy. Jozy was quick to remind the fans that BMO Field is his home:
My full starting XI: