Toronto FC takes on Orlando City SC at 4 PM ET at BMO Field this Saturday with plenty to prove.
The Reds can create some much needed separation with a win against Orlando, a team they’ve defeated twice this season.
First there was the 2-0 win in Orlando, powered by a sensational performance by Jozy Altidore. It was Sebastian Giovinco’s turn earlier this month at BMO Field. The Atomic Ant’s hat trick powered the Reds to a convincing 4-1 victory.
TFC goes for the sweep on Saturday afternoon in Toronto. Kaka will be in town this time after not making the trip last time around. Also in Adrian Heath’s squad will be Cyle Larin, the rookie dynamo that has taken MLS by storm in his first season.
This is a big match for both teams as the Summer fades away. Here are three keys to the match.
Will Greg Vanney opt for a different midfield look against Orlando?
That’s the main question heading into Saturday’s match. The diamond has produced some of the Reds’ best moments this season. It’s also left the team exposed against teams that diligently attack down the wings.
So what are the alternatives? You can try three up top, with Herculez Gomez slotting in beside Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore.
Vanney could also opt for a flat 4-4-2, which he used against Orlando when they played in Florida.
The expectation is that we will see a tweak, however subtle it may be, to the lineup on Saturday.
Chris Konopka played 45 minutes for Toronto FC II on Wednesday in preparation for a possible start against Orlando.
Joe Bendik and Konopka have been in contention for the number one spot for the entire season. Bendik’s clean sheet in Orlando coincided with a foot injury that paved the way for Konopka to take the reigns.
"We'll see tomorrow at 4 p.m,” said Vanney when asked about who will start.
Kaka And Larin
Cyle Larin nearly turned the game on its head last time out in Toronto. Great goalkeeping by Joe Bendik kept the score at 0-0. If Larin’s chance is converted five minutes in it’s likely TFC doesn’t win the game 4-1.
This time Larin will have Kaka alongside. The Brazilian star’s form has been questioned in recent weeks.
“Something wrong with Kaká? Not from where I’m watching,” said team president and founding owner Phil Rawlin, via MLSSoccer.com. “He’s had a bit of an ankle problem recently, which has limited his training, but he seems fine to me on the field. And, when you see how he works out every day with his fitness coach, how fit he is and his ability to last a full 90 minutes in the Florida heat, we don’t have any worries that there’s any let-up.”