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Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup vs. the Montreal Impact (part deux)

TFC could be missing a few stars again.

MLS: Toronto FC at Montreal Impact Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC fans received some tough news on Tuesday ahead of this week’s 401 derby against the Montreal Impact. Not only will Jozy Altidore be sidelined again with injury, but both Sebastian Giovinco and Victor Vazquez are apparently questionable.

Of course, it’s likely that TFC are being a little more cautious with their players right now than they would normally be. With a playoff spot secure and the Supporters’ Shield all but theirs, they have only the points record and momentum to play for in the remaining five games of the regular season.

The Reds certainly have the depth to both finish strong and ensure their key players are healthy. If stars like Seba and Jozy have knocks that they could typically play through, it’s understandable for TFC to sit them - especially in rivalry games where someone like Sam Piette could be running rampant.

Let’s consider who Greg Vanney could play for this game, which still likely holds more weight than Saturday’s contest in New England.

Goalkeeper

Clint Irwin

I was wrong last time, and I’ll probably be wrong again, but I find it somewhat hard to believe Irwin won’t get a single one of these last few games for TFC. I’d guess that he and Alex Bono will split the next two, just to ensure Irwin isn’t too rusty if he’s called upon in an emergency.

Defence

Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Jason Hernandez

I predicted Hernandez would see game time in Los Angeles and I was right, although he didn’t start like I thought he would. I’ll guess at the same thing this time, since he was at the very least serviceable in relief of Chris Mavinga.

The word is that Mavinga’s fine after leaving Saturday’s game and since he played just 60 minutes, he should (in theory) be the most well-rested player. Of Moor and Eriq Zavaleta, I have a hunch it could be Zavaleta getting the rest. Moor was outstanding on Saturday and I would keep him in the lineup.

Midfield

Raheem Edwards, Armando Cooper, Michael Bradley, Jay Chapman, Steven Beitashour

Personally, I’m a subscriber to the campaign to #FreeRaheem. Surely he’ll start one of the two upcoming games. He got 15 minutes against LA, but I think it’s definitely time to give him more of a shot — TFC could use his pace to match Montreal’s.

Cooper, too, could be a good candidate for a start after appearing as a sub on the weekend. Everybody needs a run out before the playoffs so that nobody’s gone too long without a game should they be called upon.

Bradley will never sit out when he doesn’t have to. Moving on...

I think Vazquez’s fever should be enough of a reason to keep him out of this one. Chapman is capable of playing a similar creative role linking the midfield to the forwards (albeit not as well), so I think he’d be the one to step in.

Forward

Sebastian Giovinco, Jordan Hamilton

I will continue to beat the Jordan Hamilton drum until he gets into a game. His exclusion from the squad in LA was very surprising; he’s been kept out for a long time despite performing well in all of his appearances (better than Ben Spencer, at least). At this point, it’s probably unlikely he plays against Montreal, but this is still what I’d like to see happen.

Giovinco is listed as questionable with his quad injury, but if he’s good to play it would probably make sense for him to start this one. TFC won’t want to have him sit out for too long and get cold, but he absolutely will not play on the turf in New England. If he’s able, he should play this game.

Projected starting XI: