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Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against the Colorado Rapids

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A welcome return at centre-back, maybe?

MLS: Toronto FC at New York City FC Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rapids are at BMO Field on Saturday as Toronto FC play their first home game since they won the Voyageurs Cup over Montreal. The Rapids sit 10th in the Western Conference and are tied for last on points with just 19, while TFC jumped back into first in the East after Wednesday’s draw against New York City FC.

TFC have welcomed back some reinforcements since that game, with Jonathan Osorio, Tosaint Ricketts, and Armando Cooper all returned to the club after being knocked out of the Gold Cup. The extent of their involvement against Colorado remains to be seen and Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Justin Morrow are all still with the USA, but at least the Reds have a few more options going forward.

As always, this prediction will be based on the presumption of a 3-5-2. There are other options, like the 3-4-3 we saw after Sebastian Giovinco went down on Wednesday, but that would probably be fairly similar.

Goalkeeper

Clint Irwin

Now that the Canadian Championship is over, we’ll see whether or not TFC choose to rotate their two keepers in weeks with two games. It’s possible they stick with Alex Bono just for an element of stability in what’s sure to be a Frankenstein’s monster of a lineup.

Defence

Nick Hagglund, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta

With news that Hagglund is available for this weekend’s game, it’s possible we could see the regular back three from the 2016 playoffs together again. Zavaleta had the night off in New York, so he’s likely to be back in for this one. Chris Mavinga seemed to have a little trouble at times with the confined space at Yankee Stadium, and I think he might make way for Hagglund. Moor will surely be involved, against a team he played 181 games for before joining TFC.

Now that Hagglund’s back, the team selection becomes a lot more difficult for Greg Vanney. There are now four centre-backs who have a claim to one of the three regular starting roles.

Midfield

Raheem Edwards, Victor Vazquez, Benoit Cheyrou, Marky Delgado, Nicolas Hasler

I thought Edwards would be a crucial part of TFC’s game plan on Wednesday. He was in the end, but didn’t start. Now that they’re back home with lots of space out wide for him to play in, the Canadian will probably be deployed out on the left.

Over on the other side, this seems as good a time as any for TFC to give their newest signing a chance. A home game against a team with trouble scoring goals like Colorado seems like a good starting block for Hasler. Oyvind Alseth had a tough night in New York, so it’s probably either going to be Hasler or Ashtone Morgan.

Cheyrou was fantastic on Wednesday, looking like the perfect backup for Michael Bradley. He did a lot of very difficult defensive work and made 39 passes. He works well with Vazquez and Delgado.

If TFC were to go to a 3-5-1-1 formation, Vazquez would probably sit in behind Jordan Hamilton, and somebody like Jay Chapman might come into midfield.

Forward

Jordan Hamilton, Tosaint Ricketts

Vanney is apparently optimistic that Sebastian Giovinco will be available, but even if he is, it would probably be a substitute appearance for the Italian.

Ricketts is apparently good to go for this one, having arrived back in Toronto the day after Canada’s loss to Jamaica in the Gold Cup. He didn’t play in that quarter-final game, so it’s definitely possible that he starts on Saturday.

Despite finding Morgan for an assist, Ben Spencer didn’t have a particularly good game in New York. To me, Hamilton should be above him on the depth chart.

Potential starting XI: