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FT: Toronto FC 1–0 Vancouver Whitecaps–Match thread, starting lineups, & how to watch

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Follow along and chime in on the the live match thread as TFC try to make it two-for-two at BMO Field over their Canadian rivals.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC v Toronto FC
Alejandro Pozuelo #10 of Toronto FC battles for the ball with Cristian Dájome #11 of Vancouver Whitecaps FC
(Ridley/Getty)

LIVE Match Thread

FT: Toronto FC 1 - 0 Vancouver Whitecaps FC. 6 points out of 6 for the Reds so far in the 2020 Canadian Championship.

89’—Chance! One-on-one with Hansal, Alejandro Pozeulo goes for the highlight-reel scoop, but the young Canadian is having none of it, coming up with an acrobatic-looking save.

80’—Summing up the last 10 minutes. But still, somehow some way, Vancouver are in this.

70’—Vancouver parking the bus has seriously dulled this match out, but it’s probably a good thing for the Whitecaps as they’re still one counter-attack away from tying the game a stealing a point. The Reds have been pressing relentlessly and have come close, but that insurance marker still evades them—for now.

66’—Pablo Piatti’s first sight at goal, a hard, curling effort from 24 or so yards out is comfortably saved by Hansal. How you doing down there, Q? You awake?

63’—Chance! Another jaw-dropping pass from Alejandro Pozuelo finds Patrick Mullins in behind, but the striker puts it high and wide. What a ball and what a chance.

57’—Second sub (first stoppage) for Vanney as Marky Delgado checks into the match for Liam Fraser. How much of a difference will this substitution make?

53’—Best bit of football for TFC over the past two minutes results in a strike from distance from Auro. Hasal does well to handle the rebound with two Reds crashing the net.

46’—Patrick Mullins subbing into the match Jozy Altidore. Vanney says Altidore is fine, just your fine case of load management with a tougher opponent in Montreal on the road next.

HT Question: Who was the most impressive TFC player in the opening half?

HT: Toronto FC 1 - 0 Vancouver Whitecaps — That wasn’t the most entertaining half, but the Reds will be happy with the lead. What do they need to do in the next 45?

39’—A half chance there for Vancouver, but a half-volley is comfortably saved by Quentin Westberg, who has had virtually nothing to do over these past two matches aside from a Lucas Cavallini semi-breakaway.

36’—Yellow Card issued to Liam Fraser. The 22 year old is lucky there, it could have been a red. He turned back, didn’t see Teibert on his shoulder, and gave up the ball as the last man back. He grabbed his fellow Canadian and pulled him to the ground, but the ref deemed the infraction to be worthy of just a yellow. A bit of a smudge on a otherwise solid opening half from Fraser so far.

35’—Chance! A great ball in from Auro Jr. finds a streaking Jonathan Osorio on the far post, who takes a touch, but Hasal once again does a great job of making himself big, forcing the Canadian to put the ball wide. Oso has come close a few times over these last two matches.

33’—It took 33 minutes but there’s your first bone-crunching challenge from Liam Fraser. There’s two elements to his game that really stand out: his sharp, yet silky passing ability and his willingness to make you pay if your touch is too heavy.

31’—You’ve missed absolutely nothing if you looked away the past 10 minutes. TFC continue to dictate and dominate the tempo of this match.

21’—That Thomas Hasal save on Auro from a few minutes ago (prior to the goal) was actually ridiculous. The young Canadian has a real future in this league.

17’—Will that goal open the flood gates in Toronto? After a back-and-forth opening five minutes or so, it’s been all TFC since.

15’—GOAL! Toronto FC 1 - 0 Vancouver Whitecaps: The Canadian full-back scores what’s already his third(?) goal of the season after the ball deflects into his path at the top of the box and he makes no mistake.

12’—Chance! Great in-swinging cross into the back post from Jozy Altidore of all people finds a streaking Auro Jr. whose effort is miraculously stopped by Thomas Hasal. Liam Fraser has dropped back as almost a third centre-back on the right-hand side with the Reds in possession, giving the Brazilian the green light to push forward.

7’—Tosaint Ricketts is shadowing Michael Bradley, trying to eliminate him as an option when the Reds are in possession in their own half. Perhaps a tactic has Vancouver instilled after Tuesday night’s performance.

5’—Chris Mavinga goes down hard on the concrete past the touchline. He comes up holding his back up appears to be alright. Scary play for the Frenchman.

1’—Here we go. Players from both teams take a knee before kicking off. Vancouver starts, defending the North end first, different from Tuesday night for anyone paying attention.

8:06 p.m. EST—Toronto FC bench applauds as Liam Fraser’s name was just announced on the PA in the starting XI. Re-creating those game day vibes.

8:03 p.m. EST—Players starting to creep onto the bench as we approach the start of the match. Here we go. There’s a particular buzz in the air tonight. I don’t know. There’s something special about Toronto FC footy on a weekend night in Toronto.

7:56 p.m. EST—Really, really late last call to get your guesses in our prediction league! We’re less than ten minutes away from kickoff. It’s not too late to catch up and you can win a TFC-related prize!

7:48 p.m. EST—The Reds once again warming up in Black Lives Matters shirts. The message isn’t fading with this group. On a different note, I have a pretty good seat, but is anyone else watching from anywhere special tonight?

7:40 p.m. EST—20 minutes away from kickoff and we’ve already learned that Liam Fraser will be making his first career start tonight! This will be a big test in the midfield for the 22-year-old native of Toronto.

7:35 p.m. EST—Here we go. Once again, we are LIVE from BMO Field. It’s another gorgeous day by the Lakeshore as the Reds look to extend their regular-season unbeaten run to 17 games without a loss, dating back to last August.


Starting XI

Liam Fraser makes his first start of the season in place of Marky Delgado! The rest of the starting XI remains in tact.

Tosaint Ricketts starts up top for Vancouver, who are changing things up and going with a back five. We’ll see if that makes a difference.


Match Preview (Courtesy Aasim Hashim)

TORONTO, Ont.—After a dazzling display on Tuesday night, Toronto FC will look to replicate the same kind of performance Friday night against the very same opponent: the Vancouver Whitecaps. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m EST.

Tuesday night ticked off a lot of boxes for Greg Vanney’s side. The Reds finished the match with a clean sheet, Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Osorio were both fit to start, and Pablo Piatti had a game to remember in his first outing at BMO field, finding the back of the net twice, including an absolute screamer to open his Reds account.

Simply put, the Reds played the way many expect them too—by dominating possession and dominating the score sheet.

It’s clear that the challenge with this type of format is going to be the short turnaround between games. While on paper Vancouver shouldn’t be much of a problem for TFC, it will be interesting to see how both Vanney and Marc Dos Santos tweak tactics ahead of Friday night’s match. Teams don’t often play each other in back-to-back games in the MLS, and they rarely do it on two nights’ rest. So, while Toronto may have had a dominating display on Tuesday night, there is still a lot to play for and Vancouver won’t roll over as easily this time.

As mentioned, Tuesday also saw the return of Osorio to the TFC starting XI, and over the course of 90 minutes, you could see how much TFC missed him during most of the MLS is Back Tournament. His ‘directness’ and combination play with Michael Bradley and Alejandro Pozuelo added an extremely important dimension to the Reds’ midfield. Unsurprisingly, after Tuesday’s matchup, Vanney was very complimentary of the Canadian international.

“He slides in seamlessly,” Vanney said. “His relationship with Michael [Bradley] and Marky [Delgado] and Poz is so good. These guys have played so many games and big games together; they’re so comfortable together and read off of each other. It was nice to have him back because that’s a big part of what makes things tick for us.”

Toronto FC will have a week off after Friday night’s encounter but with a busy schedule ahead— starting with Montreal next weekend—it’ll be important to keep Osorio fit through this portion of the MLS schedule.

Speaking of players that need to stay fit, could Friday night see Bradley be given a rare night off? It’s probably not going to happen, but one has to think that it’s something Vanney has considered. While Bradley had a fantastic MLS is Back tournament, his fitness has not been at the same ‘Bradley levels’ used to seeing, especially late in games. Could a night off the TFC skipper well?

What might help Vanney make that decision is the ease with which the entire Toronto defence was able to handle Vancouver’s offence. The Whitecaps welcomed back Lucas Cavallini, Andy Rose and former Red Tossaint Ricketts to the match, but Toronto’s experienced centre-backs were able to deal with the Whitecaps offence all night as the ‘Caps registered just one shot on Quentin Westberg’s net. And while you can probably be sure Vancouver wont have the same type of performance twice, Toronto is clearly deeper and has more talent in midfield that finding the right balance could provide some valuable time off for the Toronto skipper.

Additional Notes

  • With his assist on Tuesday night, Pozuelo now has six assists in six matches in 2020.
  • Tuesday’s 3-0 win meant Toronto has now extended its regular season unbeaten run to 16 games.

HOW TO WATCH

Today’s match will kickoff at 8 pm EST on TSN 4/5. Michael Singh will be live from BMO Field with your live match thread. Follow along, chime in, and share your thoughts. They may just get construed to the TFC head coach ;).