Toronto FC are back in Canada for the final fixture of their three-game road trip to start the 2017 MLS season. After draws against Real Salt Lake and the Philadelphia Union, the Reds are once again looking for their first win of the campaign today.
Greg Vanney will be without his biggest attacking weapon at BC Place, with Sebastian Giovinco returning to Italy for the upcoming international break after suffering a leg contusion against the Union. Tosaint Ricketts is expected to start in his place.
The Italian’s absence is not only a setback for Toronto but also for the television cameras, with MLS returning to a wider Canadian audience via CTV for this match. Seven games will air on Canada’s most-watched network over the next couple of months, including two more TFC contests in May.
The Whitecaps’ start to the season has been complicated by their participation in the CONCACAF Champions League. After defeating the New York Red Bulls in the quarter-finals, they went down 2-0 to competition favourites Tigres in midweek and rested a number of players for their league visit to the San Jose Earthquakes days earlier. Carl Robinson’s men were up 2-0 in that game before blowing their advantage and losing 3-2. They drew 0-0 with Philadelphia in their opening game.
Steven Beitashour returns after recovering from a concussion but the most notable lineup news sees Alex Bono replace Clint Irwin in goal. Irwin is fit and on the bench, and the decision is said to purely down to a desire of Vanney’s to rotate his goalkeepers.
Nick Hagglund keeps his place in the back three ahead of Chris Mavinga and Victor Vazquez drops back to the bench, with Jonathan Osorio restored to the starting XI. As expected, Tosaint Ricketts is in for Giovinco.
Paolo Tornaghi came off the bench after David Ousted’s red card against San Jose but it is Spencer Richey, a 24-year-old without an MLS appearance to his name, who gets the start for the Whitecaps in the absence of their suspended No. 1.
In exactly what shape they will line up remains to be seen, but Alphonso Davies, Nicolas Mezquida, Brek Shea and Fredy Montero form the front four for Carl Robinson’s team.
Vancouver: Richey; Williams, Waston, Parker, Harvey; Teibert, Laba; Davies, Mezquida, Shea; Montero.
Subs: Tornaghi, Bolanos, Jacobson, Techera, De Jong, Hurtado, Manneh.
Toronto: Bono; Zavaleta, Moor, Hagglund; Beitashour, Cooper, Bradley, Osorio, Morrow; Ricketts, Altidore.
Subs: Chapman, Delgado, Edwards, Hamilton, Irwin, Mavinga, Vazquez.
How to watch
Venue: BC Place
Kick-off: 4pm ET
SB Nation opposition blog: Eighty Six Forever
Radio: TSN 1050
Streaming: CTV GO