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Toronto FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes: TV channel, live stream, team news & lineups

MLS action returns.

Chris Blanchette (@Itsonly_CAB)

The game

Another international break out of the way, Toronto FC return to BMO Field to take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening.

The Reds are 12 points off the LA Galaxy’s regular-season points record with seven games to play, meaning they do not need to maintain their current points-per-game rate of 2.07 to match or even surpass that all-time best.

With four of their final seven games to be played at BMO Field and a fifth coming at the league’s worst home team in the Galaxy, Toronto have not only the Supporters’ Shield but history within reach.

Kick-off: 5 p.m. ET

Venue: BMO Field, Toronto

The question

This feels like a potential trap game. Can Toronto do a more professional job than they managed when the Colorado Rapids visited back in July?

San Jose have been a poor road team but they had some success ditching their experiment with a three-man defence, reverting to a five-man midfield and overloading the central areas at the Galaxy last time out, running out comfortable 3-0 winners.

The fact that victory came at StubHub Center - where, as mentioned, the Galaxy have been terrible - is a caveat.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Los Angeles Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

But a road win is a road win and if the Quakes can figure something out on their travels, their season suddenly becomes a lot more interesting. They have been pretty excellent at home under Chris Leitch and are still hanging around the playoff picture.

The matchup

If San Jose are to cause Toronto problems they will need Marco Urena to put in a shift alone against the Reds’ back three, creating space for the likes of Chris Wondolowski and Vako Qazaishvili to operate in.

It’s roughly the Seattle Sounders’ approach in last season’s playoffs; a workhorse striker (Nelson Valdez) putting in the hard yards while more gifted players buzz around behind him. Like Seattle, none of them will provide much width but instead look to overload the middle of the pitch.

That is becoming a familiar challenge for Toronto. Once again, they will need to make good use of their wing-backs, anticipate and control the second balls that drop in front of their defence and not try to force passes through midfield.

The opposition view

Try looking for some San Jose-oriented coverage of this match and you will learn that while we would all like a bit more attention given to TFC in Toronto, other markets have it way, way worse.

Here’s goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell:

You do your homework for every game, right, so you try and study the players as much as you can. So yeah, we’re looking at Toronto just like we have every other team, focusing on their good players and what we can do to stop them. And that’s what we’ve been working on this week.


Pre-match reading

Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against the San Jose Earthquakes

Toronto FC vs San Jose Earthquakes: What to watch for

TFC Talk: Toronto FC return against San Jose Earthquakes

Could Toronto FC be a fit for Atiba Hutchinson?

TV channel & live stream

TV: TSN 2 (Canada), NBC Sports California (USA)

Stream: TSN Go (Canada), NBC Sports Live (USA), MLS Live (out of market)

Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto), KNBR 1050 (San Jose)

Team news

Benoit Cheyrou and Nick Hagglund remain out for Toronto. Clint Irwin dislocated a finger during the international break but is expected to be available.

San Jose will be missing Harold Cummings, Marc Pelosi and Marvell Wynne. Nick Lima and Francois Affolter are questionable but Florian Jungwirth looks set to return.

Projected lineups

Toronto: Bono; Zavaleta, Moor, Mavinga; Beitashour, Delgado, Bradley, Vazquez, Morrow; Altidore, Giovinco.

San Jose: Tarbell; Sarkodie, Alashe, Imperiale, Jungwirth; Godoy, Ceren; Thompson, Wondolowski, Vako; Urena.