clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Know Thy Enemy: Shorthanded New England And the Playoff Race in Toronto Edition

The Revolution have stymied the resurgent Toronto FC squad once recently, but can they do it on the road?

MLS: Toronto FC at New England Revolution Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution could be without five starters and up to seven key first team players and have only one week to get results in a road campaign against two of the better teams in the East, current standings notwithstanding in the case of Toronto FC.

Tonight the Revs and Reds both look to cement their place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 730pm kickoff from BMO Field.

Centerback Henry Kessler did not travel due to health and safety protocols, strikers Gustavo Bou and Giacomo Vrioni and winger Dylan Borrero have been week-to-week with leg injuries, midfielders Matt Polster and Maciel have been unavailable, and Ismail Tajouri-Shardi is yet to make his club debut as he is recovering from a prior injury from before his trade to the Revs.

We know several of the Revs did not make the trip up to Toronto and the Revs will likely have to lean on their dwindling depth on this difficult double game week. One win in these two matches against Toronto and Montreal would go a long way towards helping the Revs make the playoffs but it will be a difficult task to get any result this week. Bruce Arena is not only going to need to make some serious lineup adjustments, but possibly a couple of major tactical shifts as well while leaning on new players in the squad like Christian Makoun and the youth like Damian Rivera, Noel Buck, and Esmir Bajraktarevic.

The Toronto offense has been immense the past few weeks, save for the Reds most recent double game week in which they lost at Vancouver in the Canadian Championship final and then drew the Revs 0-0 at Gillette. TFC have notched 10 goals in their other three most recent games are look the most likely of any team below the Revs to make a clear run up the table towards the playoffs.

I’m not saying that this might be New England’s worst attempt ever to invade and sack Canada...but I’m not not saying it either. At least back in ‘75 (not that recent one, the one way back) the Revs did kind of well early before a disaster in Montreal but here’s hoping we don’t repeat history exactly although a win against Toronto before a loss in Montreal would not be the worst outcome on this trip.

Here’s to hoping there’s actually tea in Toronto we can throw into the lake because it would be a shame to waste the good pasta that I assume is all the rage in the GTA right now thanks to the Reds recent summer signings.

As always we chat with our good friends over at Waking the Red, with Tomas Karageorgos kind enough to answer our questions this week. You can red my answers to their questions over on their site in Aasim Hashim’s preview. Thanks again to site manager Anthony Khoury for his assistance.

TBM: Last time we asked Adam what his favorite pasta dish/Italian restaurant is in the GTA so we’re going to ask it again.

TK: One of my favourite Italian restaurants in the GTA has to be “Sugo.” They serve up classic Italian dishes, located in Toronto’s Bloordale village.

TBM: The Revs and TFC played a 0-0 draw a few weeks ago, but in their other three most recent games the Reds have scored 10 goals in three wins. Was there something the Revs did well to limit TFC in that scoreless draw or something TFC didn’t do that stifled their offense?

TK: Toronto was just coming off of a heartbreaking Canadian Championship final loss in Vancouver on Tuesday, a lot of factors played into the 0-0 draw that weekend. Both matches were away from home and on opposite coasts which meant a lot of travel, and both matches were played on turf. Bob Bradley played an almost identical similar starting XI, which meant minimal rest for players. Although I will give credit to the Revs defence, they marked Lorenzo Insigne very well.

TBM: We know of the big additions to the squad, but which mainstay on the TFC roster has benefited or improved the most with the new DPs? Jon Osorio has three goals in two games and I imagine there’s a lot less pressure on the Reds backline too.

TK: I don’t know if we can call him a mainstay, because he departed the club in the off-season for Nottingham Forest… but since Richie Laryea has returned to the Reds on loan, he has thrived in two games back with his hometown club. His link-up play with Federico Bernardeschi has been fun to watch, both players know what one another is capable of, and they put their respective skills on full display when TFC attack.

TBM: A four game unbeaten streak, 10 points out of 12, and games against the 8th place Revs and 7th place Miami. How many points this week would TFC need to really set themselves up for a playoff push and how high could the Reds finish in the East?

TK: TFC definitely need all six points this week to continue their playoff push. A draw against either New England or Miami would feel like a loss considering the magnitude the remaining games hold, and because Toronto have their eyes set on the postseason.


Predicted starting XI: Alex Bono, Domenico Criscito, Chris Mavinga, Lukas MacNaughton, Richie Laryea; Michael Bradley, Jayden Nelson, Jonathan Osorio; Lorenzo Insigne, Jesus Jimenez, Federico Bernardeschi.

Score Prediction: 2-1 TFC

Injuries: Mark-Anthony Kaye remains questionable, while Quentin Westberg is doubtful.