“Defence wins championships, offence sells tickets.” That is the traditional mantra that surrounds football, in every continent.
To Toronto FC’s luck, in the past years, their offence was fundamental in bringing silverware to the Six and that is mainly down to the chemistry which embodies the attacking pair formed by Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco, authors of 56 and 80 TFC goals respectively since wearing the red colours for the first time.
However, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and the downside of this phenomenal duo was the fact that there was no replacement to it. Whenever one of them was absent, often Altidore this year, Vanney struggled to slot in a suitable partner to Giovinco. Tosaint Ricketts prefers to run deep into channels rather than doing hold-up plays or lay-offs and Jordan Hamilton may have some similar attributes to Altidore but is yet to prove himself as a reliable figure.
However, all this seem to have changed with the arrival of Lucas Janson, who, since joining the club on a six-month loan from Argentina’s Tigre, has already scored on his debut against the San Jose Earthquakes and had another disallowed against the Montreal Impact.
His connection with Giovinco was so evident that it made Janson look as if he has been part of the club for a long time.
In the 401 derby, Janson was deployed up front alongside Giovinco in a modified 4-3-1-2 shape with Victor Vazquez supporting them even though during the match it was more Jonathan Osorio who dialogued with the attacking pair.
The Argentine forward covers a lot of area in the front part of the field as he is able to run behind backlines, involves himself in aerial duels and is able to exit the penalty area to link up with other players around him.
In occasion of the 1-0 goal scored by Giovinco, the offensive play started with a deep run from Janson who was looking to receive a through ball from the back before being partially blocked by Montreal’s backline. Such movements allow TFC to play its flowing football even if there is no Altidore on the field.
Although he did not score, Janson provided the assist to Osorio’s chip goal which made the score 3-0 in the first half. In this situation, the Argentine forward highlighted his speed of thought and execution in unlocking the Canadian with a back-heel despite being locked down by an Impact marker.
In terms of connecting with Giovinco, Janson was doing a lot of hold-up play which allowed Giovinco to retreat and dialogue with him before pitching the ball to either flanks.
Moreover, since Janson’s repertoire allows him to play in a variety of positions on the field, the Argentine was sometimes tracking down Montreal’s players or moving back to the middle of the field to quicken the positive transition alongside Vazquez. In this case, Giovinco can easily replace him as a false nine without providing any reference point to the opponents’ backline.
With Altidore returning from suspension, Janson doing well and TFC needing the W’s to advance to the playoffs, it will be down to Vanney’s tactics to maximize the potential of his attacking department.