Toronto FC aiming to return to winning ways on the road, against a Columbus Crew SC side which currently leads the Eastern Conference.
One of the more intriguing aspects of professional sports, is how a fan’s view of their team is often affected by whether they are an optimist or a pessimist. As such, let’s look at the positive and negative perspective of Toronto FC‘s start to the 2017 season.
- Positive: Toronto FC are unbeaten through five games.
- Negative: They have only won once.
- Positive: TFC are only three points out of first place.
- Negative: They currently sit outside a playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
- Positive: The Reds have only conceded four goals so far, fourth-best in the league.
- Negative: They are struggling to score themselves, with just six goals up to this point.
- Positive: Toronto FC have two more points compared to the same stage last season.
- Negative: They have lost four points from winning positions so far in 2017.
With all this in mind, what’s the objective outlook on how things have gone so far? Yes, TFC could — maybe should — be doing better, but on the balance of things, there is more reason to cheer than jeer up to this point.
Regardless of your perspective though, this weekend sees the Reds travel to Ohio for their most important game of the season so far. Apart from the fact they’re playing their Trillium Cup rivals, Columbus Crew SC currently sit at the top of the standings in the East.
More from Toronto FC
- Federico Bernardeschi ready for new challenge with Toronto FC
- Toronto FC remodel continues with departure of Alejandro Pozuelo
- Toronto FC looking to move on from Carlos Salcedo
- As Lorenzo Insigne arrives, Toronto FC looks to get back on track
- Toronto FC: 3 takeaways from 2-1 loss to Columbus Crew
One of the more fascinating aspects of this Crew side, is their unpredictability. As noted by Nicholas Rosano of MLSscoccer.com, they have used 18 players and three different formations through their first six games of the campaign.
This is in stark contrast to Toronto FC, who have mostly been unchanged through the early stages of this season. Again, whether they should shake things up, relates to your outlook.
Regardless, one change TFC will make for the Crew game, is replacing Chris Mavinga with Nick Hagglund in the starting lineup. Despite being hailed as a big offseason acquisition, Mavinga has struggled so far in the early going.
The final straw came against Atlanta United FC. Head coach Greg Vanney was very critical of the defender, as he told Waking the Red’s Oliver Platt and other members of the media:
"“I thought, on the two plays, (he was) way too slow to read the action and see what was going on,” said Vanney. “No matter how fast you are as a human being, if you don’t pick up on the plays early enough you’re not going to make up the ground. For me, as of tonight he wasn’t ready for the speed of the action in the transition. He didn’t pick up the reads. We’ve got to keep working with him and keep developing him and keep pushing him to recognize those moments and yeah, he’ll get another shot down the road.”"
Talking of changes, some fans have fretted over the absence of the injured Clint Irwin between the posts. In reality though, there is little Alex Bono could have done about either goal he conceded against Atlanta.
In truth, it’s up front where Toronto FC need to get back on track. This is highlighted by Sebastian Giovinco’s early return of just one goal.
Overall though, as already alluded to, there is nothing to panic about at this stage of the proceedings. But if you are panicking, just ask yourself one question – Do you really see Giovinco struggling for the entire season?
What’s your take heading into TFC’s game against their Trillium Cup rivals? What are your predicting for the final outcome, and why? Share your thoughts in the comments section.