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Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against the Columbus Crew

How much squad rotation?

MLS: Eastern Conference Championship-Columbus Crew at Toronto FC Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I was pretty dang wrong last time out. For Tuesday’s game, I predicted a lot of squad rotation — even throwing Jay Chapman in there (completely forgetting about Nico Hasler). So, for this game, I’m going to predict a pretty mixed side for Toronto FC, which means Greg Vanney will probably end up rotating every position.

From the way Vanney’s been talking, MLS competition remains a high priority for his side. So, they can’t look too far ahead of the Columbus Crew, even with a crucial home game against Tigres on Wednesday. Remember, TFC only made it past the Crew by one goal in last year’s playoffs. They deserve a lot of respect.

It seems we’re probably going to be seeing the 4-4-2 most of the time. That’s probably the best way to get all the best players into the squad.


Alex Bono

Maybe this time it actually will be Clint Irwin. Frankly, I think that if we don’t see Irwin in one of the upcoming games (particularly this one), he might be done with the club.

Anyway, Bono was spectacular as usual on Tuesday against Colorado, and you named him man of the match in our Rate the Reds poll. He’s certainly capable of playing on both Saturday and Wednesday; any rotation would simply be to get Irwin some playing time.


Ashtone Morgan, Chris Mavinga, Eriq Zavaleta, Gregory van der Wiel

I figure if I keep guessing van der Wiel will start, it might actually happen. This seems like the perfect time to get him involved; he should’ve had a little more chance to settle in after his daughter was born last weekend. I don’t know if it makes the most sense to throw him straight off the deep end against Tigres, so Columbus could be a better measuring stick to see where his fitness is.

On the left side, the inclusion of Morgan is a complete gamble. Justin Morrow wasn’t particularly sharp on Tuesday, despite one moment where he got in all alone on Zac MacMath. I think Morgan might get a little more playing time this year, with Raheem Edwards gone, particularly because TFC really need him to become a viable backup at left back.


Ager Aketxe, Victor Vazquez, Michael Bradley, Nicolas Hasler

There you go, Nico. I remembered ya this time. He’s looked good in sub appearances so far, and even though Jonathan Osorio has been fantastic, Hasler’s probably deserving of a start.

Anyway, Aketxe got his first dig in a TFC kit on Tuesday, and he looked pretty good at times. I want to see what he can do from the start of a game now. Same deal as with van der Wiel, of course — better to get his first start under his belt before being thrown into a game against Tigres.

I don’t think Vazquez will play the whole game; he might be one of the players given a run out for a bit, but then subbed off around the 60th minute. Bradley, of course, probably will play the whole game — if he did on Tuesday, he surely will here.


Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore

Not for very long, of course. It’s unlikely both these players are on the pitch after 90 minutes; in fact, it wouldn’t be shocking to see them both subbed off. Still, TFC will need a goalscoring touch against Tigres, so Vanney may want Seba and Jozy to find a goal or two together.

Projected Starting XI: