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‘Always Special’: Former Sounders 2 player previews TFC vs. Seattle fixture

Tobi Jnohope, who has a history with TFC’s next opponents, gives his take on this high-profile clash

Toronto FC will be looking to return to winning ways when they’re back in action this weekend following last Saturday’s 2-2 draw against the Chicago Fire, which left a bitter taste inside the locker room for the trajectory that the game took.

However, the upcoming appointment will be a litmus test for TFC’s title credentials as they face a Seattle Sounders who are on the back of four wins and a draw in their first five MLS games in this campaign.

In recent campaigns, the weight of the encounters between Seattle and TFC has always been huge — in fact, two of their last four head-to-head ties were MLS Cup finals, with a victory each.

Saturday’s appointment is promising to be another intriguing affair with all eyes set on the creativity duel between Nicolas Lodeiro and Alejandro Pozuelo, who are the main orchestrators of the Sounders and TFC respectively.

Tobi Jnohope feels that the game will be very balanced and the margin of error will be very thin, providing the opportunity to see more moments of quality that could prove decisive.

Jnohope, 21 years old, is currently on the books of Mosta Football Club, in Malta’s top-flight. Previously, he was part of the Seattle Sounders organization, where he played with Sounders 2 in the USL.

Waking the Red joined the former Sounders player for a conversation about this game, his USL experience and his thoughts about MLS.

Valuable experience in USL

“I played around six matches with Sounders 2 in the USL, which was a great experience,” he told Waking the Red.

“Every match brings different challenges, and it takes a great amount of focus to play and do well in any category.

“I played against Toronto FC II in a preseason match, the second team plays just like the first team, it was a great experience and a beneficial learning curve for me as well”

Pozuelo is key

“I like how Toronto FC utilizes their new signing, Alejandro Pozuelo,” Jnohope said.

“The midfielder has the freedom to roam, and he does a great job being a link from the midfield to the forward, in particular with Jozy Altidore.

“In my opinion, Toronto can harm Seattle by trying to play the ball in behind the Sounders’ backline.

“Although Seattle’s defense is smart, they are a bit slow on the turn and that could be the crucial moment where TFC can exploit their opponents and be harmful.”

Asked about what this game represents, Jnohope underlined the fact that this fixture always holds some kind of relevance for both teams but also for the league.

“I think the match will be very tight, there won’t be much in it. These teams have history playing against each other,” he said.

Maestro Lodeiro

“As for the Sounders, they like to keep the ball and play possession but they are also willing to suffer, sit deep and counter when the time is right, and I really admire that,” the Mosta player said.

“They have very experienced and smart players. Nicolas Lodeiro is a workhorse and is a maestro in the midfield, he’s everywhere for them and he will be crucial against TFC.”

MLS deserves more credit

“MLS in general is a good level, and it is getting better every year,” Jnohope said.

“It certainly doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Just this year Miguel Almiron from Atlanta United signed for Newcastle United and is a regular in their starting formation, plus it was a record transfer fee for Newcastle.

“The thing I like the most about MLS is that the league is always improving — on the other hand, what I don’t really like is the fact that the league has no promotion or relegation system.”