On Wednesday night Toronto FC host the Vancouver Whitecaps at BMO Field in what could be their most important match of the season - the second leg of the 2018 Canadian Championship final. The dramatic first leg ended 2-2, thanks to a late own goal from former TFC defender Doneil Henry, which not only tied the aggregate score, but provided Toronto FC with a second away goal, which could be crucial in deciding the final outcome, as away goals are the tiebreaker.
For TFC’s run to the Canadian Championship final, Greg Vanney has stuck with the 3-5-2 formation, which I expect he will do again in this match. There will be a couple of players suspended for TFC’s next MLS game, on Saturday in San Jose, so expect them to get the start in this match (more on that later).
Greg Vanney has already said that the Canadian Championship is Irwin’s chance to play regularly, so that won’t change for the final. He has allowed just two goals so far in the competition, both in leg 1 of the final in Vancouver. He has been sharp and will hope to continue that good form into the final.
Chris Mavinga, Nick Hagglund, Gregory van der Wiel
As I mentioned above, there will be two TFC players suspended for their match against San Jose on Saturday, and Chris Mavinga is one of them. Because they wont need to worry about resting him, he should start this match. Gregory van der Wiel can be played at either right-back or centre-back, assuming he plays, but would likely get the start in the middle of the defence as Auro remains sidelined with an injury, meaning someone else would need to take over at right-back. The third centre-back will likely be either Eriq Zavaleta or Nick Hagglund, possibly both if van der Wiel plays right-back in this one, but I think it will be Hagglund and van der Wiel at centre-back with Chris Mavinga.
Ashtone Morgan, Jonathan Osorio, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, Justin Morrow
There are two options for Greg Vanney - he can either deploy Gregory van der Wiel at right-back or as a member of a back three, moving Justin Morrow to the right and bringing in Ashtone Morgan on the left. This move would bring in one of the three required Canadian players, Morgan, but is also a tactic used a few times by Vanney in recent times. Morrow hasn’t been stellar on the right, but he is competent over there. In the middle of the park should be the trio of captain Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado and red-hot Jonathan Osorio. Not only would Osorio be one of the three required Canadian players, he is also on an amazing run of success going into this match. The Brampton, Ontario native has scored in 5 of his last 7 matches, including scoring in all three of the other Canadian Championship matches this year. It’s been an incredible season for him and he’ll hope to continue his success on Wednesday night.
Jonathan Osorio has just tied the record for most Canadian Championship goals (5)#TFCLive— Benedict Rhodes (@BTFR17) August 9, 2018
Jonathan Osorio's goal against Vancouver gives him 15 goals in all competitions (4 CCL, 3 Canadian Championship, 8 MLS) in 2018.— Benedict Rhodes (@BTFR17) August 9, 2018
Prior to 2018 he scored 17 goals in total. #TFCLive
Jozy Altidore, Tosaint Ricketts
Jozy Altidore is the player who will be sitting out the San Jose match due to suspension. He was shown a red card early in the first half against NYCFC on Sunday and received the mandatory one match ban that comes with it. As he’ll be getting a bit more time between matches, I think it would be silly not to start him on Wednesday, alongside the third required Canadian player Tosaint Ricketts, in what will likely be Toronto’s biggest match of the season. If The Reds win the Canadian Championship, they will qualify for next year’s CONCACAF Champions League, where they will try and win the trophy they came so close to winning this year.