10things_tfc_22nov

10 things on Toronto FC

As all good things must come to an end, there had to be a final derby game between the Impact and TFC in 2017. The Montreal squad is going to BMO Field to visit and try to beat, for honour’s sake, its Toronto counterpart on Sunday, October 15 at 5pm. The Reds have already clinched the Supporters’ Shield and are still hoping to beat the MLS record for most points in a regular season held by LA Galaxy. Here are 10 things on Toronto FC.

Context

Greg Vanney has the luxury of rotating his squad without having to suffer the consequences. The Torontonians have already clinched top spot in the league’s general standings and there is a lot of hype around them, with some even going as far as saying they are the best team in MLS history. We won’t go that far – obviously because it’s Toronto, but also because they still have to prove it when it matters, and that’s during the MLS Cup playoffs. Anyway, the Reds, unattainable in first position, and the Bleu-blanc-noir, out of contention, are facing off without anything to play for, except for bragging rights.

Current form (across all competitions)

W-L-L-W-W-W

Head coach

Greg Vanney (50-37-23 all-time as Toronto FC head coach and in MLS) became TFC head coach on August 31, 2014. He is also the club’s technical director. A professional player for 13 seasons in the United States and in France, Vanney then worked on youth development, most notably at Real Salt Lake and at Chivas USA, before joining TFC in December 2013. After taking on jobs as assistant general manager and TFC Academy director, he became the ninth head coach in club history, replacing Ryan Nelsen.

Current top scorer

Sebastian Giovinco (15)

Players to watch

  1. Víctor Vázquez (#7) – The 30-year-old Spanish recruit, who arrived this winter from Cruz Azul, in Mexico, has already registered 16 MLS assists. If he plays, he is a danger on set pieces as well as on crosses, and he easily breaks defensive lines with his passes to the forwards.
  2. Jozy Altidore (#17) – What will be the mood and the physical condition of TFC’s big striker, who just lived a painful end to his country’s World Cup qualifying campaign against Trinidad and Tobago? He remains a key part of an attack that scores 2.2 goals per game.
  3. Jonathan Osorio (#21) – The Torontonian midfielder is good friends with Samuel Piette, as the two young men grew up together in the Canadian national team system. But on Sunday, it will be business first in the middle of the park. Osorio has started three of Toronto FC’s last four games.

Team profile

Playing in a similar style to last season, TFC likes to crowd the middle and lean on a very potent attacking trio, comprised of Giovinco, Altidore, and Vázquez. The first one is there to run at the defense and dribble, winning free kicks for his many falls, the second works hard with his back to goal to win physical duels and allows his team to move up field, while being a damaging presence for the centre backs, and the third is like the oil in the engine, with dangerous crossing ability. Further behind, Michael Bradley patiently dictates the tempo and the direction of Toronto’s attacks, all the while stopping the opponent’s progress with tackles or interceptions. And although the defensive line is mostly solid, its Achilles heel is found between the lines, where space can be found to quickly combine, either in the middle or on the right.

In 2017 :

Shots on target*

Goals scored from inside the penalty area

Goals scored from outside the penalty area

Goals scored on headers

4th (160)

1st (62)

=3rd (9)

1st (15)

Possession (%)

Big chance conversion (%)

Successful passes in attacking third (%)

Duels won (%)

7th (51.9%)

4th (58.2%)

7th (67.7%)

7th (50.8%)

*Source for all data is Opta

Tactical formation

It does not matter if the attacking DPs are available or not, Vanney only rarely betrays his three-man defence. Lineup against New York Red Bulls (September 30): Bono; Morrow, Mavinga, Moor, Zavaleta, Hasler; Vázquez, Bradley, Delgado; Altidore, Ricketts.

Most recent games against the Impact

How nice was it to beat Toronto away? With Giovinco, Altidore and Vázquez unavailable, the Impact travelled to the Queen City and beat the Reds 5-3 at BMO Field. The benefits of Toronto’s three-man defense were cancelled out when Montreal used the same tactic. The Impact then took an early lead and forced Toronto to move up the field, mostly Bradley who, in the circumstances, could not find his best level.

Injuries, absences and call-ups (as of October 12)

F Sebastian Giovinco (“lower body” – day to day)

Upcoming games

Atlanta United FC v Toronto FC (MLS, October 22)
Eastern Conference semifinals v lowest-ranked knockout winner (MLS, October 30 or 31 and November 5)

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