Preview — Toronto FC will look to rebound after losing to the Montreal Impact 1-0 at BMO Field. They will meet the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, who are also looking to rebound. The Whitecaps have not scored a single goal in their MLS phase one game in Canada.
They have also lost all three games, including two to Toronto.
TFC Looks to Rebound from Montreal Impact Loss
Tuesday’s loss to the Impact was a tough one for Toronto FC fans to swallow. However, even with Tuesday’s loss, Toronto is still leading the MLS phase one standings in Canada. This will decide who will represent Canada in the Canadian Championship. They have nine points in four games. Meanwhile, the Impact have six points and have played one game less than Toronto.
Toronto is no longer leading the MLS Supporters’ Shield race. This is thanks to Trillium Cup rivals, Columbus Crew SC, who won 1-0 over the Philadelphia Union. However, Toronto still has the second-best record in MLS and are only two points behind their Trillium Cup rivals.
Toronto FC’s leading goal scorer is Ayo Akinola with five goals. However, he has not scored since scoring a hat-trick against the Montreal Impact in the MLS is Back Tournament. Expect him to get a few more touches and find his game against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Meanwhile, Alejandro Pozuelo still leads MLS in assists with seven. This shows how important he is to his team’s offense and how he makes players like Akinola and Richie Laryea better.
Penalty Kick Controversy
However, do not expect a penalty kick mishap from Pozuelo and Pablo Piatti to happen ever again.
Greg Vanney, head coach of Toronto FC, was not happy with the penalty kick.
“Not sure what is going on on the penalty kick,” Vanney said after the Canadian Classique setback. “We’re down a goal, we should just be burying the ball in the back of the net and moving on. We gift them the fact that they don’t even have to make a save or do anything on a penalty kick, and we have a number of other opportunities [after].”
It was a very unusual penalty kick. Instead of shooting it in the back of the net, Pozuelo rolled the ball forward. Piatti then ran to the ball and shot it past Dion.
If Toronto scored the penalty, they would have gotten a point out of the match. Furthermore, they would have extended their unbeaten run to 19 games, which only two teams have done before in MLS history.
However, expect Toronto to bring a playoff-like atmosphere on Saturday in Vancouver. They will also feel confident facing the Whitecaps. Toronto defeated the Whitecaps two times last month.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Looks to Score More Goals
The Whitecaps have the second-worst record in MLS and the worst record in the Western Conference. They have only two wins and six losses in MLS play. Furthermore, in their MLS phase one games, they have failed to score a single goal in three games.
In the two games against Toronto FC this year, they have been outplayed. The Whitecaps had only one shot on target in both games at BMO Field. In the second game, TFC won 1-0. The game however was only close because of the great play of goalkeeper Thomas Hasal on Aug. 21.
The lack of offense is something Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos has been working on with his team.
“How we could improve in the final third, how we could get more scoring opportunities, and there was a lot of film individually by groups and also with everybody involved,” Dos Santos said.
The leading goal scorer for the Whitecaps is Cristian Dájome, with two goals. The leaders in assists for the Whitecaps are Ali Adnan and David Milinković with two assists each.
For making the Canadian Championship Finals, it will be a tall if not impossible task.
The first tiebreaker if all teams have the same amount of points wins. However, Toronto already has three wins and nine points. At best the Whitecaps can tie Toronto FC with three wins. However, then one would need to look at goal differential.
Toronto’s goal differential is +4, Montreal +2, and Vancouver is -6. It would be difficult to reverse that goal differential. Lastly, the Whitecaps would need the Impact to win against TFC on September 9.
The three players not playing on Saturday for Toronto FC will be Patrick Mullins, Ifunanyachi Achara and captain Michael Bradley. Bradley was injured at the end of Tuesday’s game against the Impact. He will be out for several weeks with a right knee sprain, according to Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press.
A player who could replace the captain is Canadian Liam Fraser. This would be a good experience for a young player to get some playing time.
However, one player that could return and be a huge boost for Toronto FC is Richie Laryea. He has the second-most goals for Toronto FC only behind Akinola. He also played a big part in Toronto FC’s last win over the Whitecaps.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The Whitecaps are currently dealing with two injuries to their squad. Canadian goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau is out with a fractured thumb. This is while central midfielder Janio Bikel is also out with abductor problems. Both players are expected not to play on Saturday against Toronto.
Toronto FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC Preview Overview
Toronto FC will be playing with something to play for. They are a team that prides itself on contending and winning trophies. Saturday’s game is no different. They will want to win against the Whitecaps and inch themselves closer to the Canadian Championship Final.
As explained before, the Whitecaps have little to no shot at making the Canadian Championship Final. The advantage with that though is that they can play loose without any added pressure. However, the question is will they match Toronto’s intensity at BC Place.