Toronto FC vs Orlando City SC: Can TFC Win On Vanney’s 100th Game?
Toronto FC vs Orlando City SC ~ May 3 ~ 730pm ET ~ BMO Field ~ TSN
Game three of Toronto FC’s longest homestand of the season kicks off tonight against Orlando City SC; the current league leaders come into town with a pretty shiny record (five wins at home, one win and one loss on the road), Canadian Cyle Larin has scored some nice goals, Kaka is back and all things seem rosy for Jason Kreis (amen) and the team from the land of Disney. Who’s up for some Wednesday night footy?
So given how well the visitors have started the season should TFC be worried? Maybe not. Toronto FC have been rounding into form after looking a bit shaky to start the season, but their last two games have shown a team that is communicating better, showing patience, passing the ball and scoring some rather nice goals. While they’re still waiting for injured players to return to game fitness/heal, they’ve handled those absences rather well and instead of crumbling under the loss of Drew Moor they’ve put together some of their best soccer in ages.
What then happens tonight? Are Orlando really that good, or have they just taken advantage of a home heavy schedule to start the season? Are TFC finding their stride and transitioning back into the team that went to the final last year? Probably not, yes and yes. Orlando are a good team, but this good? Unlikely. Are TFC as blah as they’d been to start the season? Also unlikely. Though still a bit concerning that it took them awhile to start meshing, as this team becomes more comfortable with each other (and trusts one another), the quality of the play is evident.
The elevation of Victor Vazquez’s play, the startling maturity of Raheem Edwards, Justin Morrow playing at CB and the recent return to form of Marky Delgado are just some of the reasons that Toronto have started to look like Shield contenders instead of pretenders. Of course it’s too soon to crown them, well anything – two strong games do not a season make. Tonight’s game will be telling – a strong showing (and win) to reinforce the idea that BMO Field is a fortress for the Reds and that this TFC side can do what they didn’t last year, consistently win games at home.
The patient passing game and maturity in front of the net will need to be evident this evening. Obviously the defense and the midfield will need to neutralise both Kaka and Larin (maybe Cyle will think it’s a national team game), something they’ve done before quite handily. The other question is what kind of effect Will Johnson will have on the game – he’s fit in well with his former coach and given there was a bit of bad blood when he left, there’s the potential for a “I’ll show you” type of game. Johnson is an emotional player (and a physical one so careful former teammates), and you know he’ll be up for this one – it’s up to Michael Bradley and Co. to not rise to whatever bait he throws out.
Tonight’s game is important for another reason; it is Greg Vanney’s 100th game as head coach of Toronto FC. 100 games – did any of us ever think that any coach of TFC would hit that mark? Be honest – you know that you’re all shaking your head no. To celebrate we here at the Vocal Minority put together something to commemorate the occasion:
So will our Reds win one for the Gipper tonight? I say yes. It’s true that Toronto have two games this week, but this is honestly (thoughts of revenge aside) the more important of the two – conference rival trumps the sounding enthusiasts, no matter what happened on a cold night in December. I’m sticking with my podcast prediction of a 3-1 for Toronto.