The last time Toronto FC played, they found success by throwing off Orlando City with their formation. Greg Vanney’s starting XI was a 4-4-2, which Kaka and co. hadn’t prepared for. After half-time, though, he switched back to the 3-5-2 which Orlando was expecting from the start, which threw them off again and ultimately led to a quick goal for TFC.
This week against New York City FC, Vanney has to decide again what kind of team he’s going to field. The 4-4-2 could work with Michael Bradley unavailable, but then again the Reds do have Raheem Edwards back in the mix, meaning they could probably play with wing-backs again.
It makes a little more sense to stick with the 3-5-2 here, in order to play Edwards out wide and to keep all three centre-backs in the XI. Here’s how Toronto’s lineup might look on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
The de-facto No. 1 keeper did well against Orlando, stopping three shots. It wasn’t a particularly busy night, but he did his job. There’s still no reason why he shouldn’t be the man in goal for TFC.
Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta
Toronto’s back three is one of the only things that’s been stable for the past two months. The trio is definitely Vanney’s best option at the moment, even though Jason Hernandez worked his socks off against Orlando (and Zavaleta had a few iffy moments, especially on Carlos Rivas’ goal).
Nick Hagglund is apparently back in training, but unlikely to feature in the midweek game. Once he’s ready to go, it’ll be very difficult to decide which (if any) of the current back three should be dropped.
Raheem Edwards, Victor Vazquez, Benoit Cheyrou, Marky Delgado, Oyvind Alseth
Edwards will be a key player for TFC in this game due to NYCFC’s strong midfield. They’ll need to use his pace going forwards (which was lacking when Ashtone Morgan played that position).
Defensively, Cheyrou will be important. He’s likely to captain the side in New York, and he’ll be tasked with Bradley’s usual job of holding down the fort at the back of midfield. He’s a good calming presence there, if a little slower, and will need to move the ball out towards Vazquez and Edwards as much as possible.
Alseth looked pretty good against Orlando after a tough outing against FC Dallas. He’s been waiting all year for an opportunity, and this is it. He’ll probably have some heavy lifting to do defensively in this game. We’ll start to get a clearer picture of what he can do with a decent run of games.
Sebastian Giovinco, Jordan Hamilton
Giovinco tends to do very well at Yankee Stadium. After his outing in Orlando, TFC is hoping he can keep the wheels rolling despite the two-week break. It’s very important that he’s up for this one, because Toronto’s chances of stealing a point or three largely rely on him scoring (or at least assisting) a goal or two.
Beside Seba, Hamilton should get plenty of chances if he can get in behind New York’s back line. He has good chemistry with the Italian, as we saw in TFC’s win against D.C. United. Hamilton is a player who makes good use of his limited playing time, so he’ll be looking to do some damage.