Toronto FC vs Sporting KC: Will TFC Be In Heaven, Or Blue Hell?


Sunday March 20 – TSN2 – Children’s Mercy Park – 7pm ET

 Can Toronto FC’s dream start to the season continue this evening in Kansas City?  Unlikely – but then again I’d have called you crazy two weeks ago if you said that TFC would be undefeated at the moment; including a 2-0 win over last year’s Supporter’s Shield winner, and a come from behind draw in the house that Villa built.  There’s been little to truly quibble about Toronto’s start to the season and honestly a fair amount to like.

There are of course still questions regarding the attacking portion of the team and what the midfield actually looks like, but amidst those questions and a number of injuries the Reds have managed to reach the halfway point on Bill Manning’s minimum goal for the season starting road trip. So what of this game against Sporting KC?  One of Toronto’s nemesis as it were, in one of the most difficult places to play in MLS, and also undefeated on the season – oh and TFC have never won at their current home, AND they haven’t beat them in three years.  Whee, this should be fun.

Playing SKC is usually a daunting task; they’ve a strong core group of players that have carried forward since they last won the cup in 2013 – take a bow Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, Dom Dwyer, Benny Feilhaber and Chance Myers – that’s a lot of talent right there.  Add in Brad Davis – SO weird to see him with anyone other than Houston – and the still recent return of Roger Espinoza and well, you’ve a group of players that any team would love to have.  And don’t get me started about Jacob Peterson.  They’ve also had the same coach for what seems like forever (seven years) in Peter Vermes which not only makes me completely envious, but gives the team the kind of familiarity that is apparent whenever SKC play.

Toronto is facing it’s own challenges coming into this game; Dan Lovitz is injured and Jozy Altidore is apparently ready to play – and of course the team is still gelling as a group which isn’t easy to do on the road.  But why is Jozy’s return a challenge?  He’s not played at all yet this season so that’s the biggest worry; how much rust does he have to shake off?  The team could certainly use a larger presence up top so that Seba doesn’t have to keep trying for long balls – but should he start?  Absolutely not – the team has a bye week coming up, bring him on as a sub and let him get some minutes but is it worth over-exerting at this point?

Things To Note And Watch For:

  1. SKC play a very high pressing style, expect Michael Bradley to stay back in his new defensive role
  2. Jacob Peterson will score – just to torture us.
  3. Brad Davis will score – because it’s against TFC and that’s what he does
  4. Cheyrou to start? I hope so; a smart veteran presence could help against this team
  5. TFC to focus heavily on defensive shape in this one.
  6. All about the counter attack.
  7. Someone will make ‘Children are the future’ jokes on twitter.  Likely the entire VMP
  8. Or ‘No Mercy’ jokes.  Again, likely the VMP
  9. Seba will score
  10. Drew Moor will get a yellow card

This is likely to be a low-scoring (we hope) game; both teams play a similar style and while SKC are better at it, Toronto has shown themselves to be able to absorb pressure and turn games around so far this season.  But if they lose is it really a big deal?  No.  Not at all.  Unless they completely embarrass themselves, and even then, every team has a bad game somewhere along the line.  Will I surprised if they lose?  Not at all.  I hope they get a positive result of some kind; any point would continue to prove that this is a different TFC than seasons past and that they are finally building towards something.  However on the podcast I called for a 2-1 loss so I’ll stick with that.  This should be a fun one folks, make sure you tune in.

Author: Kristin Knowles

Raised on basketball and baseball, Kristin soon saw the error of her ways when enrolled in a local football league as a child. Geography dictated she choose TFC as her team and ten years later she's still yet to flee the city. Cynically optimistic, she now channels her inner hooligan by singing random pop songs and making poor puns in the stands. May contain adult content. Find me on the internet machine @kzknowles

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  1. So where will Cheyrou be slotted in? This pitch is one of the more spacious ones, so while there will be lots of areas to drop a ball into someone has to run into that space.

    I expect a win here, as Manning, yourselves and I have an expectation that Vanney can adapt the 4-3-3 to shut down opposition pressure quickly.

    Post a Reply
    • Fair question; I think if he does start you’ll see it more like last week when Will Johnson pushed up more and was more effective. This is all dependent on whether or not Altidore starts; and I’m fairly certain that he won’t.
      I do admit that this comes from a bias/desire to see Cheyrou play a full game – perhaps that won’t happen until players start to leave for tournaments and so on. However like last week I feel that a smart, veteran player is an effective counter measure against a high quality opponent.

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    • The lineup in that link would be my ideal choice, except with Delgado in the right instead of Endoh.

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    • Altidore is an alternate.

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  2. Well, no Drew Moor. Williams in would be my preference; just for a more veteran presence.

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  3. Ok this is getting more difficult with Oso out, but still expecting a victory.

    I should re-watch that movie sometime, you know with Michael Kane, Sly Stallone, Pele, Ozzie Ardiles, Booby Moore etc…

    Post a Reply
    • Great movie – although just about anything with Michael Caine usually is. Definitely worth watching again.

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  4. Moor out with illness, Oso out because of a knee injury…

    BUT, silver lining – Jacob Peterson not playing. Although I’ve no idea why.

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  5. Well one of those hatches was loose, cause Balomero snuck in somewhere and personally impacted the game.

    Based on his actions after the goal he realized he screwed up the call. Of course his assistant doesn’t assist.

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