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Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against the New England Revolution

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A return to the 3-4-2-1 for TFC?

MLS: Toronto FC at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday evening, TFC return home to BMO Field for their 2019 home opener.

In their season-opening victory against the Philadelphia Union, Greg Vanney opted to go with a 3-4-2-1 formation, bringing Drew Moor back into the fold and forgetting about using wingers, a position that Toronto FC doesn’t have a lot of depth at.

I think he returns to that 3-4-2-1 for Sunday’s match, making just the one change from the last game.


Goalkeeper

Alex Bono

Bono, who wasn’t tested a whole lot in the season-opener, is looking to get off to a hot start in the league this season, after a shaky start in the Champions League. Both Caleb Patterson-Sewell and Quentin Westberg (both awesome names by the way) are currently battling for that backup role, but if Bono struggles early on, one of them could see some extra minutes this season.

Defence

Chris Mavinga, Drew Moor, Laurent Ciman

The same back three used in Philly, this group has pretty much everything you could need in a back three. Mavinga brings speed and the ability to make a crucial tackle, Ciman has the ability to spray long passes all over the pitch, and Moor brings the stability and leadership to organize his teammates, almost acting as a second captain. He also provides cover when one of Mavinga/ Moor ventures up the pitch. The Ciman/ Mavinga partnership in a back 4 was one of high risk, high reward, which isn’t ideal. Adding a third central defender in the form of Drew Moor lowers the risk of having just a single centre-back exposed if the other one makes a mistake. I think that Eriq Zavaleta could also be used in a similar role this season.

Midfield

Justin Morrow, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, Auro

The same midfield four as used in Philadephia, this group is going to see a lot of the ball, as Morrow and Auro are the two wing-backs, and will go forward in attack a lot, and Bradley and Delgado are the link between the defenders and forwards.

The player that is on everyone’s minds after that opening match is captain Michael Bradley. Given more of a free role instead of being kept just in front of the defensive line, Bradley got forward a few times, and even ended up scoring two goals.

That might have been a fluke, but he seemed to play well when given a bit more freedom and ability to control his team from a bit higher up the pitch when necessary.

Forward

Terrence Boyd, Jonathan Osorio, Nick DeLeon

While I remain a big supporter of the #FreeEndoh movement, the 3-4-2-1 formation doesn’t have room for wingers, meaning that Tsubasa Endoh likely sits on the bench again. I think he is due for some minutes soon though, and should be one of the first people off the bench if TFC are looking for offence late in the game.

Jonathan Osorio is yet to have a stellar performance so far in 2019, but after just three games, there is still plenty of time to go this year for him to earn that pay raise he got. There have been flashes of his 2018 self (including a missed penalty unfortunately), so he’ll be hoping to grab a goal on Sunday and start getting into the swing of things.

Nick DeLeon has looked like a great signing in his first two appearances with the club, as his goal against Philadephia put the game to bed, and his dribbling ability has been on full display. He had a few good runs down the wings against both Independiente and Philadelphia, and looks to have become a popular figure in the dressing room by all accounts.

Terrence Boyd, although in fairly limited minutes, has yet to really show TFC fans what he is able to do. Boyd is a strong physical presence, and can hold off big defenders, but is yet to have many scoring chances. He missed a penalty in Panama, but apart from that, hasn’t had much service. If Nick De Leon, Auro or Justin Morrow can whip in some crosses, Boyd might be able to use his physicality to his advantage and get on the end of some balls, and hopefully score some goals.


My full starting XI: