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Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against the Portland Timbers

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The Reds travel west for a date with the Timbers

MLS: Montreal Impact at Toronto FC John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday night Toronto FC will be in Portland, Oregon to take on the Portland Timbers. Toronto, fresh off a 3-1 victory over the rival Montreal Impact, will look to close in on the playoff places even more. Portland lost 1-0 to Seattle on Sunday, thanks to an own-goal from Julio Cascante.

For this match, due to the injury to Chris Mavinga, I think Greg Vanney will play four at the back in a 4-4-2 diamond formation.

Goalkeeper

Alex Bono

Although Bono has had a poor run of form recently (he got saved by the offside flag against Montreal as what would’ve been a penalty call was lucky to be cancelled out by the linesman), he remains the number one keeper for Greg Vanney’s team. With it being a midweek game in between a pair of long-distance journeys, it is reasonable to think that Clint Irwin might get the call to start, but every match is a must-win at this point, so I expect Bono to be between the sticks on Wednesday night.

Defence

Gregory van der Wiel, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta, Justin Morrow

This is the same back 4 that played against Montreal on Saturday. Gregory van der Wiel, finally able to play in his natural full-back position, looked great on Saturday, bursting up the wing and delivering dangerous balls into the box. Morrow was doing the same on the other side, as usual. Vanney may not want to give Drew Moor a full 90 minutes so soon after returning from injury but as I mentioned with Bono, every match is a must-win and having Moor on the pitch is much better than having him off it, especially with Chris Mavinga now out injured following his suspension.

As usual, Greg Vanney chose Zavaleta when I picked Hagglund so this week’s ridiculous way of selecting between the two required a bit of help from my family. I wrote their names on three papers each, and put them all in the middle before asking each of my family members to pick one. 2 of them picked up papers with “Zavaleta” written on it, and the other picked “Hagglund”, so Zavaleta it is.

Midfield

Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Marky Delgado, Lucas Janson

The standout name here is Lucas Janson. He has played twice for TFC and has looked pretty good, showing signs of good attacking ability. Previously partnered with Jordan Hamilton and Sebastian Giovinco up top, I think there’s a chance we see him at the top of a diamond instead of Victor Vazquez. Vazquez has been battling injuries all year so I don’t think he’ll be risked in this one, especially with so much travelling, but I think he’ll stay in Toronto and start the LAFC match on Saturday.

Forward

Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore

As Jozy is returning from his two-match suspension, I think we see him start this one alongside Sebastian Giovinco. Giovinco has been tearing it up recently, and became the first player in MLS this season to reach double-digits in both goals and assists. When together, the two form one of the most dangerous attacking duos in the league and hopefully are capable of beating a poor Timbers defence that doesn’t have much depth beyond English centre-back Liam Ridgewell (who, coincidentally, was actually born in the same town in England as me).

Don’t forget that it’ll be a late kickoff on Wednesday, as the ball gets rolling at 10:30 pm.