After picking up the first three points of their league campaign on Friday against Real Salt Lake, Toronto FC are back at BMO Field on Tuesday night in Concacaf Champions League action. Mexican powerhouse Club America are in town for the first leg of the semifinal in what could be Toronto FC’s toughest match to date.
For this match I think that Greg Vanney will use the 3-5-2 formation that won him the last tie against Tigres and has got Toronto to this point in the tournament so far.
For the Real Salt Lake game I predicted that Bono would be the starter but that Irwin was surely going to get a game soon. Irwin got that chance on Friday, allowing Bono a few more days of rest for this Club America match.
Eriq Zavaleta, Drew Moor, Chris Mavinga
Greg Vanney didn’t give any definitive answers as to who is healthy and who isn’t ahead of Tuesday’s match, but he did confirm that Nick Hagglund will miss around six weeks with a hamstring problem. Because of Hagglund’s injury, Chris Mavinga may be called upon to start, even if not 100% fit, and he will almost certainly start if he is fit.
Eriq Zavaleta and Drew Moor have been getting a lot of action lately, and will likely start again as TFC doesn’t have a huge amount of depth in the middle of defence.
Gregory van der Wiel, Jonathan Osorio, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, Auro
Ashtone Morgan has had a few good chances to play recently with the absence of Justin Morrow, and has looked solid on the left side of the defence. If Morrow is unavailable again on Tuesday, though, Auro might get a chance on the left to give Morgan a rest. He played at left wingback for much of the second leg against Tigres, replacing an injured Morrow, and looked comfortable on both sides of the ball. If Morrow is 100% fit he may return on Tuesday, but if not, Vanney may as well give him more time to rest because there are a couple of solid options behind him.
Another option, if Chris Mavinga is unavailable, could be moving Gregory van der Wiel from the right side of midfield to one of the back three spots, moving Auro from left wing back to right wing back and having Morgan start on the left. Van der Wiel played in the middle of a back four with Drew Moor against Real Salt Lake, and was really good, earning himself a spot among the subs on the MLS Team of the Week.
Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado and Jonathan Osorio all played against Salt Lake on Friday, forming 3/4 of a very solid midfield diamond. The trio, along with Nicolas Hasler, looked very strong in possession, often finding their way out of any difficult situations with nifty passing plays.
Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
Sebastian Giovinco was once again Toronto FC’s best player on the pitch on Friday night, despite missing another penalty. He looked like the creative and determined player that we saw when he first arrived, the Giovinco that picked up the 2015 MVP award. He was creating chances for his teammates, he set up Jozy Altidore’s penalty (and thankfully let him take it), and was taking shots but he was unable to find the back of the net. He is due for some goals, and Tuesday night would be the perfect time to get them.
Jozy Altidore was incredible on Friday night as well, scoring a pair of goals and earning himself a starting spot on the MLS Team of the Week. His second goal was his 50th goal for the club in all competitions on his 95th appearance. He’ll be looking to continue linking up with Giovinco in the attacking end of the pitch.
Clint Irwin, Ashtone Morgan, Nicolas Hasler, Ager Aketxe, Victor Vazquez, Jay Chapman, Tosaint Ricketts