On Sunday afternoon, Toronto FC will host New York City FC at BMO Field. NYCFC, third place in the Eastern Conference, will look to take all three points in Toronto as they try to catch Atlanta United at the top of the Supporters’ Shield race. They are tied with the New York Red Bulls on points, but are behind on goal difference. Toronto, up to ninth in the Eastern Conference now, and are only seven points back of a playoff spot following a 20-game hangover. A victory on Sunday would go a long way to making what seemed like a dream a reality, especially as Toronto will be hosting the Montreal Impact, their biggest rivals and the team that occupies the final playoff spot, in a few weeks’ time.
For this match I think Greg Vanney will return to the 3-5-2 formation as Drew Moor is expected to make his return, thus opening another spot for a centre-back.
Bono had the night off against Vancouver on Wednesday, as Greg Vanney has made it clear that the Canadian Championship is Clint Irwin’s tournament. Irwin has been very good in the three Canadian Championship matches he’s played, but Bono is still the undisputed number one keeper, and will definitely get Sunday’s game.
Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta, Nick Hagglund
Following Chris Mavinga’s red card in the dying moments of the match in Atlanta, Toronto FC will be without their best defender in this one. The good news though is that Drew Moor could finally return on Sunday after a very lengthy recovery from injury. This also gives me an opportunity to pick Eriq Zavaleta AND Nick Hagglund, as whenever I pick one, Greg Vanney picks the other one in what is an obvious and deliberate attempt to annoy me. In all seriousness though, Moor is a huge addition to the team, almost like a new signing because of how long he’s been out. They’ve really missed his organization and leadership above all else. When Mavinga returns, the side will be almost at full strength and ready for a dramatic push for the playoffs.
Gregory van der Wiel, Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez, Jonathan Osorio, Justin Morrow
With Auro sidelined with a hamstring injury this week, Gregory van der Wiel will likely be making the move over to his natural right-back position instead of at centre-back, where he has been excellent and has seen most of his minutes. Justin Morrow should be the man at left wingback, where he was named in the MLS Best XI last season. Captain Michael Bradley, playmaker Victor Vazquez — who is probably the most important player in the team at this point — and the man in form Jonathan Osorio fill out the rest of my midfield. Osorio has been on fire recently, scoring goals for fun in the Canadian Championship and putting a team-leading 15 goals in the back of the net in all competitions in 2018. To really appreciate how special this season has been for Osorio, he managed just 17 goals in total in his entire career before 2018.
Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
Arguably the best strike partnership in MLS, Giovinco and Altidore have really been hitting their stride recently. Both scored at BMO Field against Chicago a couple of weeks ago and Giovinco is really starting to heat up, also scoring against Atlanta last week. There is no doubt that the two are better when playing with each other, so they will really be important over the next few weeks.