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Preview: Toronto FC heads west to take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC

TFC will hope to put an end to their three-game losing streak.

SOCCER: APR 24 MLS - Vancouver Whitecaps at Toronto FC
Toronto FC’s Alex Bono makes a save against Vancouver Whitecaps FC during a 2-2 draw at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, the last meeting between the sides.
Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps will square off in MLS action on Sunday as both sides look to put an end to their respective three-game losing streaks.

TFC are coming off a dismal mid-week loss on the road to FC Cincinnati. The Reds went down both a man and a goal in the opening six minutes and could not recover, eventually losing the match in Cincy 2-0.

Toronto will hope to get off to a much better start when the first whistle blows at BC Place on Sunday afternoon, though Bob Bradley’s side will have their work cut out for them due to a number of absences. Despite the fact that they are going up against a Whitecaps side that sits bottom of the Supporters’ Shield standings, TFC must still dig deep to get a result.

Jonathan Osorio, Carlos Salcedo, Chris Mavinga, Ralph Priso, Noble Okello, Ifunanyachi Achara, and Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty are all unavailable for the Reds. Jacob Shaffelburg remains questionable.

Coach Bradley must get the balance of the midfield right against what will likely be a three-man Vancouver midfield. Moreover, finding the right player to partner Michael Bradley in midfield will be a challenge for Toronto’s manager. One of Kosi Thompson or Luca Petrasso could be called upon to fill one of the central midfield positions even though the pair have predominantly played on the wings this season.

After a largely positive start to the season, Toronto FC has begun to stutter. The lack of real depth and MLS experience in the squad is beginning to get exposed for The Reds. The season is still young though, and there remains time to turn things around. What’s important now is that Toronto doesn’t veer too far away from the playoff spots as the midway point of the season approaches. A result in Vancouver could give Coach Bradley’s team a big morale boost as they wait to get some players back from injury and suspension.

SOCCER: APR 24 MLS - Vancouver Whitecaps at Toronto FC
Deiber Caicedo looks to challenge Michael Bradley during the last match between Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

For the Whitecaps, things can only go up from here. With four points through eight matches, the Caps have become undone as they deal with their own injuries.

Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini will expect to see his side put up a better performance than their last result, a 3-0 defeat away to Austin FC.

But following a two week break, there is perhaps a slight optimism that this could be a turning point in Vancouver’s season, with new signings joining the club, and key players returning from injury.

The club recently announced the signing of midfielder Andres Cubas. The Paraguayan international becomes Vancouver’s third designated player alongside Ryan Gauld and Lucas Cavallini. The Whitecaps have also signed fullback Luis Martins, formerly of Sporting Kansas City. Both players should add to the overall quality of the team and play significant roles down the stretch.

Cubas will not feature for the Whitecaps against TFC, but Gauld is likely to return to the side after missing the match against Austin FC. If he gets the start, he will be the one tasked with pulling the strings, and providing that added bit of creativity behind the two forwards.

Argentine centre back Erik Godoy could play his first minutes of the season as he too gets back to full fitness.

Game notes

  • Whitecaps FC striker Tosaint Ricketts may get the chance to play against his former club. He last played for Toronto FC in 2018.
  • Toronto are one of four clubs yet to keep a clean sheet during the 2022 MLS season (Montreal, Seattle, San Jose)

Predicted lineups

Vancouver Whitecaps FC: Hasal; Veselinovic, Godoy, Nerwinski; Raposo, Teibert, Gauld, Baldisimo, Godinho; Caicedo, Cavallini

Toronto FC: Bono; O’Neill, MacNaughton, Chung; Nelson, Petrasso, Bradley, Thompson; Kerr, Pozuelo; Jimenez

Match details

Opponent: Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Kickoff time: 4:00 p.m. EST

Watch: TSN, CTV

Stadium: BC Place, Vancouver, B.C.