Grossi: TFC vs. NYRB Pre-Match

TFC Restart MLS League Play Saturday vs. Red Bulls

Concacaf in the rear view, Toronto FC turns their full attention to the league schedule with an appetizing series of matches on the docket this month.

May will see two clashes against the defending MLS Cup Champions, Columbus Crew SC, a visit to Yankee Stadium for a date with NYCFC, and an Exploria Stadium temporary derby against Orlando City SC.

But up first is a trip to Red Bull Arena for a match against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon.

It’s a special one for Long Island-native Chris Armas, who spent six years with the Red Bull organization.

“First and foremost I get to see my wife and my children –  I haven't seen my children in three months or so and my wife came to Canada just for a short stretch. That's the top of the list,” said the TFC coach on Thursday. “It's the club I was at for six years, but honestly it's really about going there and getting our season going.”



“It's been a great start to the year in terms of being in real games where every play matters and every set piece, the whole bit, but now we can turn our focus to the MLS season,” he continued. “That's probably the most important thing in terms of the game on Saturday: going there, throwing it out there, and going for three points.”

Under Gerhard Struber, the Red Bulls began their season with a pair of hard-fought defeats, losing by a goal to Sporting KC and the LA Galaxy, 2-1 and 3-2, respectively. They picked up their first win of the season last weekend with a 2-0 defeat of Chicago Fire FC – Cristian Casseres Jr. and Caden Clark, who scored a screamer against TFC last season, each netted their second goals of the season with recently-arrived striker Fabio assisting both.

Armas, who left the organization last September, is very familiar with this weekend’s opponent.

“They’ve played some different systems in their few games, they've played different systems within games, but what doesn't change is the philosophy with which they play, with Gerhard their coach,” he explained. “They're very strong in the identity of playing with intensity and pressure.”

“How they will actually structure that, we have some ideas, but regardless of, let's call it, the system, the principles don't change too much,” Armas continued. “It becomes about us understanding that type of opposition and that type of game. In many ways like Cruz Azul second balls become important, their pressing becomes important, their counter pressing becomes important, how they control spaces.”

“Understanding that and then executing is the real challenge for us,” he added. “I know the player pool fairly well; they've made some additions. We'll have our hands full against a team that's hard to play against, that's clear.”

Through two MLS matches TFC have picked up a single point from a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC. It’s early in a long season where much of the action is back-loaded, but every point counts when November rolls around.

“Every game is important right now,” levelled Armas. “It's important for us to get a rhythm, build some momentum, keep getting on the same page, get guys healthy, keep gaining clarity, execute in big moments in all facets of the game.”

“Every game is an opportunity for us to improve,” he continued. “We want to start accruing some points. There's no easy games – the away games are tough, the ‘home games’ are away from home. It's important for us to start getting some victories. It makes the food taste better. We're looking forward to the stretch ahead.”

And the team will do so with their newest designated player in the fold.

Yeferson Soteldo was officially unveiled on Thursday and will be with the team on Saturday.



“He will be available,” confirmed Armas. “After training it's hard to gauge because it's 90 degrees and humid here in Orlando, but he trained, he trained well, his body feels good. We just have to make sure that we use him the right way as we get him integrated into the team. Still some discussions, but we're excited that he's an option for the game.”

Concacaf in the rear view, Toronto FC turns their full attention to the league schedule with an appetizing series of matches on the docket this month.

May will see two clashes against the defending MLS Cup Champions, Columbus Crew SC, a visit to Yankee Stadium for a date with NYCFC, and an Exploria Stadium temporary derby against Orlando City SC.

But up first is a trip to Red Bull Arena for a match against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon.

It’s a special one for Long Island-native Chris Armas, who spent six years with the Red Bull organization.

“First and foremost I get to see my wife and my children –  I haven't seen my children in three months or so and my wife came to Canada just for a short stretch. That's the top of the list,” said the TFC coach on Thursday. “It's the club I was at for six years, but honestly it's really about going there and getting our season going.”

“It's been a great start to the year in terms of being in real games where every play matters and every set piece, the whole bit, but now we can turn our focus to the MLS season,” he continued. “That's probably the most important thing in terms of the game on Saturday: going there, throwing it out there, and going for three points.”

Under Gerhard Struber, the Red Bulls began their season with a pair of hard-fought defeats, losing by a goal to Sporting KC and the LA Galaxy, 2-1 and 3-2, respectively. They picked up their first win of the season last weekend with a 2-0 defeat of Chicago Fire FC – Cristian Casseres Jr. and Caden Clark, who scored a screamer against TFC last season, each netted their second goals of the season with recently-arrived striker Fabio assisting both.

Armas, who left the organization last September, is very familiar with this weekend’s opponent.

“They’ve played some different systems in their few games, they've played different systems within games, but what doesn't change is the philosophy with which they play, with Gerhard their coach,” he explained. “They're very strong in the identity of playing with intensity and pressure.”

“How they will actually structure that, we have some ideas, but regardless of, let's call it, the system, the principles don't change too much,” Armas continued. “It becomes about us understanding that type of opposition and that type of game. In many ways like Cruz Azul second balls become important, their pressing becomes important, their counter pressing becomes important, how they control spaces.”

“Understanding that and then executing is the real challenge for us,” he added. “I know the player pool fairly well; they've made some additions. We'll have our hands full against a team that's hard to play against, that's clear.”

Through two MLS matches TFC have picked up a single point from a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC. It’s early in a long season where much of the action is back-loaded, but every point counts when November rolls around.

“Every game is important right now,” levelled Armas. “It's important for us to get a rhythm, build some momentum, keep getting on the same page, get guys healthy, keep gaining clarity, execute in big moments in all facets of the game.”

“Every game is an opportunity for us to improve,” he continued. “We want to start accruing some points. There's no easy games – the away games are tough, the ‘home games’ are away from home. It's important for us to start getting some victories. It makes the food taste better. We're looking forward to the stretch ahead.”

And the team will do so with their newest designated player in the fold.

Yeferson Soteldo was officially unveiled on Thursday and will be with the team on Saturday.

“He will be available,” confirmed Armas. “After training it's hard to gauge because it's 90 degrees and humid here in Orlando, but he trained, he trained well, his body feels good. We just have to make sure that we use him the right way as we get him integrated into the team. Still some discussions, but we're excited that he's an option for the game.”