Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire: Can TFC Build Off A VCup Win?
Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire ~ 7pm ET ~ Toyota Park ~ TSN1/4
Oh right, there’s an MLS game this week. OK, for the gazillionth time Toronto FC need to start winning games – winning games, not just hard fought (or fluke) draws, but wins – oh and no further injuries would also be good. So tonight is the first of two games against the Fire which should be intense as both teams need better results.
Chicago – much like last week’s opponent Orlando – is struggling at this moment in time and even though they have some good offensive tools they’ve been unable to capitalise on that. The Fire are currently on a three game losing streak and have only won once in their last five games. They should be ripe for the picking but then again, so was Orlando.
Random Thoughts & Things:
- The ex-Red effect will be strong in this game – Chicago already have Alan Gordon (we all remember what happened last time), but now they also have Raheem Edwards (newly traded from the cheesemakers) and Nicolas Hasler, who TFC traded to the Fire for Jon Bareko and $50K in GAM.
- Is this the game we see the return of Jozy Altidore?
- Play the kids again, please. Not just because they did alright against the Fury, but because they’ve been admirably filling in for some time now. At the very least give Liam Fraser and Jay Chapman a go if the usual suspects are unavailable.
- Defense. Play it. Please. They were better against the Fury, but while that was delightful – who doesn’t love a clean sheet – this will be a bit different as the lineup and the style of game will be changed.
- Don’t concede early/first. When they do, it’s generally curtains.
- Control the midfield. Both teams can have dynamic midfields – though it looks like the Fire are without Dax McCarty so that’s good news – but both have struggled in that regard, whoever can control the middle will likely win.
- Be boring. No really, play some boring, defensive, stingy football. When you all remember how to play together, and play consistently then you can get fancy again.
There’s been a lot of talk about the injured players returning any minute now; Jozy is apparently back, and you have to wonder if one or both of Auro and Gregory van der Will are healthy given the Hasler trade. Also, what’s the status of Michael Bradley? He was subbed off last week (something that should happen more often imo) amid rumours that he’s been playing injured. We all know that Bradley will play pretty much all the time, if you let him. He’s not been his best more than once in recent weeks, has having him out there for the full 90 hurt TFC more than it’s helped? I think there’s a case to be made for that, and that doesn’t mean that I think he’s suddenly a terrible player, but is Bradley playing while injured/rundown/etc better than having Jay Chapman and Liam Fraser out there? Regardless of all this, expect to see him out there tonight. I’m sticking with a draw for this one, let’s go with a scrappy 1-1.