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Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against the Columbus Crew

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Will Greg Vanney go back to the group he leaned on during the three-game home stand?

MLS: Orlando City SC at Toronto FC Gerry Angus-USA TODAY Sports

With more rotation on the way, it will be as difficult to predict Toronto FC’s starting lineup against the Columbus Crew and Minnesota United as it was against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday.

Greg Vanney will probably take a full squad with him for the shorter trip to Ohio, but you would think Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley will be in line for a break at some point after Sebastian Giovinco and Victor Vazquez received one at the weekend. A home match against an expansion team would seem to be the ideal time to rest the American duo, but that would mean pushing them through three games - two after travelling - in seven days.

Despite the changes that were made in Seattle, asking a few players to dig deep is going to be unavoidable.

Goalkeeper

Alex Bono

With Clint Irwin having returned against the Sounders, I expect the two goalkeepers will split this week’s games. To give Irwin a chance to properly recover from his first outing after injury, Bono comes back in.

Defenders

Eriq Zavaleta, Nick Hagglund, Chris Mavinga

Zavaleta is the only player who seems nailed on here after sitting out the Sounders game. Can Mavinga get through two games in five days after an injury? I don’t know, but with Raheem Edwards cramping up against Seattle he looks like a prime candidate for a rest, pushing Justin Morrow up to wing-back unless Ashtone Morgan is ready to make a surprise return.

Midfielders

Steven Beitashour, Armando Cooper, Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez, Justin Morrow

Vanney said he could see Edwards starting to struggle with cramp in the first half in Seattle, which is why I think he might be taken out of this one before he becomes an injury risk. Maybe that was just a turf thing, but the youngster has eaten a lot of minutes of late.

Cooper for Marky Delgado seems like a natural change to make, both to protect Delgado and have him back in to do Benoit Cheyrou’s running if the Frenchman gives Bradley a day off when Minnesota visit.

Forwards

Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore

With Altidore, I have no idea. He put in another mammoth shift on Saturday so it’s entirely possible that he swaps out with Giovinco coming back in, but I have a feeling they might try to hold off until the weekend.

If (or when) Altidore is rested, it will be interesting to see which of Jordan Hamilton or Ben Spencer replaces him, assuming Giovinco will not play up front alone. Vanney has been talking up Spencer for a while now, so he would seem to have the edge.