Not for the first time this season, Toronto FC return home on Saturday looking to shake off a disappointing performance the week before. The Portland Timbers are in town, and the Reds will hope to get back on track in their Supporters’ Shield bid.
The first-choice lineup is starting to fall into place now, with the only major piece still missing being Steven Beitashour (who may return soonish). Apart from a bit of debate about who plays in Beitashour’s position while he’s out, the only major decision for Greg Vanney to make is in his back three.
Now that the MLS transfer deadline has passed, it's even less likely that we see Clint Irwin in my opinion. The last couple of weeks, I thought we might see him if TFC were trying to line up a trade. Now, it's probably Bono all the way.
Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Nick Hagglund
This is the back three that fellow WTR writer Tej Sahota advocated for in his most recent piece, and I'm with him. Mavinga is starting to look like one of the strongest defenders in the league; he absolutely has to be in the side. As does Moor, who continues to be incredibly reliable, especially when given a specific assignment.
I really hope Hagglund’s injury hasn't forced him out of the starting XI. If he and Eriq Zavaleta are competing for the third spot, Zavs seems to be winning in Vanney’s mind at the moment. Hagglund definitely deserves some more starts.
Justin Morrow, Victor Vazquez, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, Nicolas Hasler
I think this is Toronto's midfield for the next couple of weeks at least. All these players but the right wing-back are part of the team's best possible lineup.
Hasler deserves another go this week. He didn't look too bad in D.C. and he's only going to get better as he starts meshing with the rest of the team - remember Mavinga's debut? The best way for that to happen quickly is for him to get a few consecutive games in the same spot.
Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
I've typed those two names together so often that when I write Giovinco, the first word my phone suggests is Jozy.
TFC have a pair of incredible strikers up top, and it's always great when they're in the lineup together. They need to start finding their groove together now, and build up some form in the home stretch of the regular season.
Projected starting XI: