Toronto FC has NEVER made the playoffs. They've invested heavily in DPs the past couple of seasons and nothing has happened so they decided to buy the USMNT this year and set up a remote base in Ontario that doesn't have AYSO. Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore are two of the biggest known USMNTers and they play in the land of the Maple Leafs. They also bought a player who's nickname is more Pixar movie than soccer player, in the "Atomic Ant" aka Sebastian Giovinco. The good news, most of their top players are not going to play. So let's dive into that.
Giovinco, the man who would get my MVP vote today (of non-Sounders, I'd probably be a homer to be honest) was called up for the Italian National Team for Euro 2016 Qualifiers but he picked up an injury against Montreal and had to drop out as well and will miss this weekend's game against Seattle.
Altidore was called up by Jurgen Klinsmann and scored two against Peru on Friday while Collen Warner was suspended two games after violent conduct against the Impact.
This means the team is missing a combined 29 goals and 15 assists from those three players alone. Giovinco leads the team in minutes and Warner has the most games played among midfielders this season. Their absences should have a major effect on the side in Red.
How Toronto Attacks
Typically they attack kind of like the Sounders do, Giovinco is their Obafemi and he'll pick up the ball wherever he wants and will do crazy things with it. He and Altidore hook up to make things of beauty that could potentially rival that of Clintfemi. Without them though? Michael Bradley will be the sole playmaker and also be in charge of ensuring a strong defensive midfield. It is safe to say, he'll be swamped as a sort of box-to-box No. 10
In place of Giovinco and Altidore, TFC will have a combination of strikers that have barely played together but could be dangerous. Luke Moore has only one goal in nine appearances but does work well with Bradley. Sounders killer, Herc Gomez, has come off the bench for his one appearance but could see time as a sub or starter again this week. Robbie Findley is the final forward option for TFC and he also has one goal but in almost a 1,000 minutes.
It's safe to assume that they will try to use Bradley to run the attack, like Klinsman has done in USMNT games. He is comfortable in that position but he is not with his attackers and will still need to track back without Warner, there is a big hole in that midfield.
They play very narrow when it comes to the attack, it is a 4-3-1-2 but it plays like a very tight 4-4-2 diamond. There are no real wingers in this system and their wingbacks are less than stellar in the attacking role (Justin Morrow and Ashtone Morgan). Expect without the playmakers on the field that the offense plays more like a 4-3-2-1 with one of the strikers coming back to sit next to Bradley in the midfield consistently.
Who Else Matters
Justin Morrow is a fairly good defender. As a wingback though, he is a strugglesaurus rex. He is asked to attack more than he did when he was in San Jose and not just attack as the support to a speedy winger, but to essentially be the speedy winger too. This leaves plenty of holes on the TFC right side for the Sounders to exploit.
On the left side, Ashtone Morgan is a little better at that job. While he isn't a speedy winger either, he is more of Tyrone Mears-esque. He understands and reads the game better than Morrow and knows when to come back and when to get to the corner.
Benoit Cheyrou, the French centermid is the bruiser in the middle. But he's out injured as well. Meaning that Marky Delgado, Jonathan Osorio, and Jackson (if he is healthy) will likely suit up behind Bradley. It likely means that we could see a 4-3-3 as the average position with Michael Bradley sitting in the middle to adjust for it but is fairly unlikely.
Well there's a handful of injuries besides Giovinco, typical starters Benoit Cheyrou, Mark Bloom, and Nick Hagglund are all out with injuries. Daimen Perquis, their best CB, is questionable and will not play I'm guessing due to the turf and travel being unkind to his quad injury.
Already missing Jozy Altidore and the potential to not have Herc Gomez available for the full 90 minutes creates a major selection dilemma for Greg Vanney in this one.
I expect the Sounders to win this thing in a very decisive fashion, like we saw against Orlando City a few weeks ago. Toronto is weak and the Sounders should have their full attack back with Deuce, Martins, and Valdez all available for selection. If Alsonso starts, the midfield domination will be complete. I expect a 5-1 win in this one (yes that kind of blowout).