Toronto FC vs. DC United | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Toronto FC vs. D.C. United
2017 MLS Match Preview
BMO Field – Toronto, Ont.
Saturday, June 17 – 8 pm ET
WATCH: TSN1,4 in Canada | MLS LIVE in US
Much has been made of Toronto FC's depth this year, with head coach Greg Vanney making waves when he called his club the "deepest team in MLS history." But one thing is for sure: the top-end talent of the reigning Eastern Conference champions is exceptional.
Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco are among the best players in MLS and on Saturday they are likely to take the field together for the first time in a month and a half. With Giovinco being sidelined with heel and quad injuries and the two US national team players missing the June 3 loss at New England, the three have not started a game together since a 2-1 win at BMO Field against Orlando City SC.
Toronto have gone 4-1-1 since that game, cementing their spot atop the Supporters' Shield standings. Shockingly, Toronto actually have a worse win percentage (41.7% vs. 46.8%) and points per game average (1.5 vs. 1.7) when all three start as opposed to when one of them is out. They will likely look to correct that stat against a struggling D.C. United side.
Toronto are one of just three teams who did not play midweek, thanks to their residence north of the border. Their loss at New England snapped an eight-game unbeaten game run that saw them take a commanding lead at the top of the Eastern Conference. But with the Chicago Fire now nipping at their heels, they will want to again show why they are the top dogs in the East.
They are one of just four teams to not lose a game at home yet this season, and they have outscored their opponents there by a dominating margin of 17-6. Their most recent loss at home, not counting the MLS Cup final, came against this same D.C. United team last October. Lamar Neagle was the hero that day, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win. There's no doubt that Vanney and Co. will want to avenge that hiccup.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – D Nick Hagglund (torn MCL), F Tosaint Ricketts (hamstring strain)
Projected Starting XI (3-5-2): GK: Alex Bono – Eriq Zavaleta, Drew Moor, Justin Morrow – Steven Beitashour, Marky Delgado, Michael Bradley, Victor Vazquez, Raheem Edwards – Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore
Notes: Toronto have gone unbeaten in their last eight MLS regular season home games (6W-2D). A win or a draw would tie the third-longest unbeaten streak at home in MLS play for the team.
It has been a struggle for D.C. this season, and on Wednesday their season almost took a turn to the surreal as they gave up the opening goal to amateur side Christos FC in the U.S. Open Cup. Luckily for Ben Olsen and his men, they were able to show why they are professionals as the game dragged on and eventually advanced to the Round of 16 with a 4-1 win.
Those four goals could be a much-needed boost to an attack that has the fewest goals in MLS. It's been even worse in recent weeks, as they have scored just once in their last six games. Patrick Mullins is out with a knee injury, Luciano Acosta has been dealing with nagging injuries, Lloyd Sam and Jose Guillermo Ortiz have been ineffective and Patrick Nyarko is just returning from his own injury. Any hope of getting a result in Toronto likely rests on the ability of one of these players to produce quality chances, which is by no means a given.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – M Rob Vincent (left knee meniscus), M/D Nick DeLeon (lower abdominal strain), D Sean Franklin (hamstring injury), F Patrick Mullins (knee surgery)
Projected Starting XI (4-1-4-1): GK: Bill Hamid — Chris Korb, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Taylor Kemp — Jared Jeffrey — Lloyd Sam, Ian Harkes, Luciano Acosta, Patrick Nyarko — Jose Guillermo Ortiz
Notes: D.C. are averaging 0.5 goals per home game this season. Only one other team is averaging less than a goal per game at home (LA - 0.8). Last season D.C. averaged 2.1 goals per game at home, second most in the league.
- Overall: D.C. lead 13-9-4
- At Toronto: D.C. lead 8-5-1
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
Assistant Referees: Adam Wienckowski, Matthew Nelson
Fourth Official: Silviu Petrescu