Toronto FC began preparing for their second game of the 2015 regular season on Tuesday.
The squad was given a well deserved day off on Monday after returning from Canada’s beautiful west coast with three points. Jozy Alitdore was named player of the week by MLS and was also selected for the team of the week, along with teammates Michael Bradley, Justin Morrow and head coach Greg Vanney.
TFC travels to Columbus for the Crew’s home opener this Saturday. The Reds captured the Trillium Cup last season after Doneil Henry’s dramatic late winner at BMO Field secured a 3-2 win.
The rivalry with the Crew continues to evolve. A few busloads of TFC supporters will make the trip to Ohio this weekend. It’s fair to expect quite the atmosphere at Mapfre Stadium.
“It’s been a good rivalry since [TFC] have been in existence,” said midfielder Jonathan Osorio following Tuesday’s training session.
“It’s not too far of a drive, so our fans are going to be there. It’s going to be an exciting match on Saturday.”
Vanney says Columbus is a team that thrives on possession. Though the Crew dropped their season opener in Houston, they had a number of premium goal scoring opportunities.
“They space you out pretty well and play in between your lines,” said TFC's manager.
“They move well, they have good shifts so for us it’s going to be important to minimize space. We don’t want to let them, obviously, get [Federico] Higuain on the ball.”
Higuain was the newcomer of year in 2012 and continues to play excellent football. He’s the prototypical MLS number 10.
“We don’t want him directing play from positions between our lines, where they can look to get behind us. We’ll have to manage space better than we did last weekend. We need to keep possession. They tend to have more possession than their opposition. That’s kind of their thing.”
Vanney and his players have been asked how many points they want to take away from this seven game road trip many times. The mantra has been one game at a time and that isn’t about to change.
“We haven’t set a real goal because I don’t want to put that mindset into our guys,” Vanney continued.
Going into every game the goal is three points. Whether that changes to one point during a match is something that will be dealt when needed. They’re one-seventh of the way there. On to Ohio.