Toronto FC vs Ottawa Fury: Voyageurs Cup Semi-Final Home Match – Can TFC Get The Job Done?
Toronto FC vs Ottawa Fury ~ 730pm ET ~ BMO Field ~ Streaming on canadasoccer.com
Time for Voyageurs Cup second leg goodness! Tonight Toronto take on the Fury in the second leg of their VCup semi-final (Montreal and Van play later on this evening) as their quest to threepeat as champions continues. Last Wednesday they put together a very solid 1-0 win over Ottawa, highlighted by a lovely goal from Jonathan Osorio and some solid defensive work from Clint Irwin and the kids. Not only did they get a clean sheet win on the road, they got a boost of confidence after a six game winless skid in MLS had put a great deal of doubt into the success of this season.
Tonight TFC have a margin of control going into the match – last year they won the home leg 4-0 after a disastrous 2-1 loss in Ottawa – with the road goal and clean sheet. However with a 1-0 first leg result, there are a lot of permutations that could see either team advance to the final:
So who’s secretly hoping for a 1-0 to Ottawa result at the end of regulation time? Just me? What, it makes the games extra fun! Come on, you know you want it…
Last week Greg Vanney leaned heavily on young Canadian players (Voyageurs Cup rules state there must be at least three Canadians on the pitch at all times) to fill out his lineup as he rested returning first team starters, but also put his faith in the youngsters to get the job done. While the final few minutes of the match were a bit ‘oh dear gods no’ for Toronto, they managed to come away with the win. There were of course other events that marred the game, but they’ve been given too much attention already and won’t be an issue this evening – and that’s all we’ll say about that (if you want to hear a discussion give this week’s episode of The Vocal Minority Podcast a listen. Yes I just plugged the show, you’ll live).
So what will Vanney do this evening (and this week) in terms of lineup juggling? With another important – OK, they’re all important – match against the Fire this weekend (didn’t we already live through this week?), does he want to potentially wear out newly returned players? But if they don’t win to advance to the final, there’s a chance that this season will have been for nought – so what to do? Will we see new striker Jon Bakero get his first minutes, will Jozy get some time as he works his way back to fitness, and is Chris Mavinga in good enough shape to play two games – or do we see the same lineup we saw last week?
- Play the kids – though I think I’d put Jordan Hamilton or Tosaint Ricketts (assuming he’s still with the team…) up top with Ayo Akinola instead of Malik Johnson, Johnson was fine last week but someone with a bit more experience would give the attack a bit more bite.
- Test Crepeau – while a very good keeper, he looked pretty shaky last Wednesday.
- Keep an eye on Adonijah Reid – the forward (on loan from Mark Hinkley’s FC Dallas), has looked dangerous of late, garnering player of the week honours a few weeks back. He’s also a scrappy player that already has four yellow cards on the season – look for him to be mixing things up in the box.
- Nana Attakora returns to BMO Field! Oh young Nana, how we miss you. The defender has had an up and down career but hopefully the last couple of years are a resurgence for him (perhaps the CPL is next) that has a continuing upwards trajectory. Yes, he plays for Ottawa but I can want him to have nice things.
- TFC should win. Regardless of that goal chart and all the various ways they can lose, this should be a win for Toronto.
- Please, please, please let the stream work better this week than last. As many of you know we got to enjoy the spinning circle of futility until finding out that ‘oh hey, this won’t work if you use Chrome. Or it will but only if you uncheck a bunch of things/jump through hoops/etc. Not everyone can install Firefox/Safari/Explorer (and so on) Canada Soccer. *grumble*
There’s really not much else to say. Hopefully it’s an enjoyable match with some good end to end play, and the younger players showing why they should be considered for starting (OK bench) roles going forward. As for the other match – well, assuming that TFC advance, I’m ‘cheering’ for Vancouver as Voyageurs Cup finals against the Whitecaps almost always have some kind of drama, which make them extra fun. Though I’m never adverse to playing the cheesemakers so really, I’ll be happy either way. I think I’ll stick with my 3-1 TFC win prediction from this week’s podcast.