Toronto FC vs Vancouver Whitecaps: Can TFC Keep Their Faint Hopes Alive?
Toronto FC vs Vancouver Whitecaps ~ 5pm ET ~ BMO Field ~ TSN1/4
This is a position that Toronto FC fans were once accustomed to, where every game down the stretch matters as the team struggles to keep faint playoff hopes alive; of course we’ve become used to the last couple of years where the post-season was a foregone conclusion so this hearkening back to the bad old days hasn’t been easy. TFC are still mathematically alive and could make the post-season but everything has to go right for them, cue an old foe in the Vancouver Whitecaps (in a similarly precarious position) as there opponent for this afternoon’s match. Perfect. Both teams fighting for their season – who will triumph?
Of course it’s not just about winning today’s match, Toronto need help from other teams in their conference in order to make a move up the table. A quick glance at this weekend’s matches does not fill one with hope:
- The tea terrorists are playing the AU Guys – OK, that one should be in Toronto’s favour as the Rev aren’t that great on the road and Atlanta will want to bounce back from their last match.
- The cheesemakers are home to Austin Celtic – this one could go either way, a maddening draw perhaps?
- The Union are hosting the Loons so really zero help there as Minnesota are abysmal on the road.
- Lastly the resurgent DCU are home against the (tire) Fire, so yeah, that’s not going to go TFC’s way is it?
Alright so all signs are pointing to ‘this isn’t going to end well’. But on the bright side (figuratively speaking of course), the weather’s going to be terrible and that usually works in Toronto’s favour when playing the Whitecaps – so umm, yay for bad weather?
Both teams are missing a key player for this afternoon’s match; Cristian Techera is out due to suspension, and Jozy Altidore is (as far as I know) also still out due to the injury he picked up in the tea terrorist match last weekend. And of course there’s the ongoing saga of Drew Moor (we miss you Drew!) – so everything’s even then? On paper (and in reality) TFC are the better team by far, it’s a question of which version of TFC shows up today – the focused, goal scoring team we saw last weekend, or the confused, defensive nightmare we saw against the energy drinks.
- Defend, defend, defend. Defense wins games.
- Don’t get hurt. Also, don’t play anyone that has a knock – I know they’re still hopeful and all but the continuing risk doesn’t seem to be worth it.
- Focus. With several first team players being called to play for their countries during the international break, they need to stay focused on MLS play before taking off to join their various camps. No this isn’t aimed at just Seba.
- Kei Kamara. Don’t let him score. Mark the hell out of him on set pieces. We enjoy Kei but not today.
- Alphonso Davies. See Kei Kamara, though instead of set piece worries, don’t let him get going with the ball at his feet – he’s got speed and so much ability in front of goal.
- Auro. I hope he’s still healthy and plays today, his presence on the right has been sorely missed and he is a difference maker for Toronto.
- Janson. MmBop! So much fun, so much talent. He should start (and please let him be here next year) in Altidore’s place.
- Doneil Henry. What will secret agent Henry do for us today?
Final thought for today, if things start to go off the rails, play the kids – I’m not advocating giving up, but I am saying look to the future. As this season winds down we can’t help but look to next season and start to wonder who’s staying and who’s going – it’s a natural thing to do, and not something we’ve really done in the past two years. I’ll be surprised (and delighted) if Toronto manage to pull this off, but a good chunk of my attention is already looking forward. Regardless of all that I called a 2-1 victory for TTC today, because why not? Stranger things have happened.