After two weeks off for the international break, Toronto FC return to BMO Field on Saturday to take on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's LA Galaxy. This match is as must-win as any match previously given that title, as a loss would almost certainly eliminate them from playoff contention, if they haven't already reached that point.
Quite frankly, if Greg Vanney doesn't start his best-possible lineup on Saturday, he's completely lost the plot, and can expect a heightened "#VanneyOut" movement. I don't think he's reached that point yet but if he puts out a TFC II squad like he did against Portland (no offense to TFC II), fans won't be pleased, so I've selected a 4-4-2 formation for this one, as I believe Vanney should.
For whatever reason, Bono didn't get the start against LAFC in Toronto's last match, leading to some Twitter speculation that perhaps Bono has lost his starting job to Clint Irwin. It was Toronto's last match before the international break and Irwin had started the previous match just a few days earlier, but dispite the odd selection, he will almost certainly start on Saturday.
Gregory van der Wiel, Nick Hagglund, Drew Moor, Justin Morrow
In the absence of Chris Mavinga, who is still out injured, Nick Hagglund will need to bring his A game against Zlatan and the LA Galaxy attack. Because of his aerial prowess, he'll likely be tasked with stopping the physical beast that is Ibrahimovic. The two centre-backs certainly aren't known for their speed and could also struggle against the likes of Ola Kamara. They will rely on the speedy wing-backs beside them to drop back and defend whenever needed.
Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Marky Delgado, Victor Vazquez
This midfield diamond hasn't been very consistent this season, with the exception of Jonathan Osorio. While Osorio has been bringing it for most of the season, Bradley, Delgado and Vazquez have had good and bad spells. Delgado spent a fairly large portion of the season on the bench due to his awful form to start the year but after a few good games recently and a USMNT call-up, he looks to have won his starting job back. He's looked a bit flagrant recently, making a few risky tackles in the Portland and LAFC matches, and is probably lucky that he didn't get a red in one of those matches. The same can be said for Michael Bradley. Bradley is one yellow card from a suspension and needs to cool off a bit in this crucial late push for the playoffs.
Nobody is quite sure what's going on with Victor Vazquez and his plethora of injuries, but whatever it is isn't good. He's missed a huge chunk of the season with various problems and might not start this one after leaving early against LAFC. If he does start, I find it difficult to believe he'll finish it.
Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
Even though this should always be the case, the days of diving and complaining to the referees better be finished for the season. There is no time for that from these two anymore, as every second counts. TFC need wins and goals from them, more than anything, in order to make that final push.