Match Preview: TFC vs. Houston Dynamo

The message from Greg Vanney has been clear this week. Wednesday’s game against Houston at BMO Field is one Toronto FC must win.

TFC’s head coach reiterated this point to reporters after training on Tuesday.

“The room for error is determined by the results of the other teams, but we want to control our destiny,” said Vanney. “We don’t want it have it in the hands of anybody else. We’re looking at these games as must win.”

“We think a minimum of seven points might get us in, nine pretty much assures that we’re in and if we take 12 we’ll be rolling into the playoffs pretty happy.”

Houston is first on the docket. The Dynamo will be without influential midfielders Boniek Garcia and Luis Garrido, who were called up by the Honduran national team for friendlies versus the United States and Mexico.

That doesn’t mean Dominic Kinnear’s side won’t be dangerous. Houston excels in set piece situations. That’s why Vanney spent the end of training on Tuesday working on defending set pieces.

Committing fouls deep in TFC’s zone will bring the risk of Brad Davis sending in a dangerous ball for the likes of Ricardo Clark and company.

With that said the game will depend on TFC’s ability to be aggressive from the opening whistle. Vanney was asked to clarify what it meant for his team to bring urgency on Wednesday night.

“I want us to get forward and to be willing to commit numbers going forward,” said Vanney.”[That means] not necessarily holding back and being cautious for transitions or turnovers, but feeling that they have everything to play for in attack.”

Though they failed to score against the Galaxy on Saturday night, TFC registered a number of well worked attacks that died in the final third. They have to improve in that aspect in order to get their desired result against Houston.

Injury update

TFC is expected to have a full squad available for Wednesday night’s game. Here’s what Mark Bloom and Gilberto had to say about their fitness level after training on Tuesday.

Bloom:

“Physically I feel a lot better. There’s been some residual swelling from the tackle that I went into [against Portland]. There’s been some lingering pain [in my right knee] that’s slowly going away so I’m feeling a lot better. I’m 100% ready to go on Wednesday.”

Gilberto:

“I feel very good. If the coach wants to put me in the team then, yes, I’m ready. I wasn’t surprised that I was left out of the Galaxy game. I hurt my hamstring in training so as a precaution they left me out of the game in LA. I’m fit and ready to play. I’m training hard and ready to go.”

Bloom and Gilberto’s availability gives Vanney options.

Warren Creavalle played well against the Galaxy and could spell Bloom in one of the next two games. “Bloom is healthy and feeling great, so he’s an option,” said Vanney. “Warren also played very well in the last game so he’s now presented himself as an option.”

Meanwhile Gilberto’s return to match fitness means Vanney will choose between two of Jermain Defoe, Luke Moore and the Brazilian striker to start up front.

Bekker stays with TFC

Kyle Bekker was called up for Canada’s friendly against Colombia in New Jersey next week, but the midfielder has decided to stay with the Reds to aid the club in their playoff push.

“It’s an honour to be called for Canada, however I have decided to remain with TFC as we look to qualify for the playoffs,” said Bekker.

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