We’re going back to the start.
With the season winding down and the points harder to come by, there’s no sugar coating it. Saturday’s afternoon fixture against Philadelphia is a massive one.
TFC could be without Jonathan Osorio, after the Canadian midfielder picked up leg injury during the Reds’ 1-0 loss in Philly. That’s met with good news defensively, with Warren Creavalle participating in Friday’s training session.
Greg Vanney was heartened by the effort exuded by his club in Pennsylvania.
“I thought the team put out a great effort, first of all,” Vanney said following Wednesday’s match. “I thought we worked hard from the beginning all the way through to the end. I can’t fault the effort from the guys; it’s been an emotional couple days and they laid it all on the field.”
It has been a tumultuous week for a club on the brink of achieving something this city so desperarely craves. Playoffs. Jim Mora quote and all.
And while the midweek loss to an opponent hot on their heels hurts, Saturday’s fixture provides an opportunity for instant revenge.
Vanney’s vision, and the way he wants to see the Reds play remains a work in progress. But there were positive signs from his first game in charge of the club.
“One of the things we talked about today was trying to be a little more forward-thinking with that initial pass out of transition,” Vanney stated. “In the first half, we weren’t winning balls where we were looking to win balls. We were getting a little bit stretched out.”
In fact it was Toronto’s fullbacks that offered much more going forward on Wednesday, providing the Union with opportunities to counter attack. That’s what will happen, but for the most part, TFC handled the Union’s prodding steps forward well.
A new tactical approach is hard to hone in a single match, and that’s a comforting fact for the players tasked with installing Vanney’s system on the field. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Hell, neither was Toronto.
Zac MacMath steps up
Raïs M'Bolhi was a star at the World Cup, helping Algeria give a shock to Germany, the eventual champions.
Thus it was assumed the Union found their No. 1 keeper when M’Bolhi was signed at the end of July.
International duty called M’Bolhi away for Philadelphia’s two game sojourn against TFC, but Zac MacMath stepped up to the challenge, performing admirably in the Algerians’ absence.
Both keepers were fantastic on Wednesday. Joe Bendik’s acrobatic saves kept TFC in the game when the Union pressed forward.
Expect more of the same when the rematch takes place at BMO Field on Saturday. Catch the game at 2:00 PM ET on TSN 2.