After already playing in Seattle and enjoying a tremendous home opener, the Union can expect more amazing fan support when they travel to Toronto on Thursday. The Reds have enjoyed some of the best attendance in the league, but unfortunately haven’t rewarded their fans with a playoff berth in their first 3 years in the league. They were able to capture the Canadian Championship last season (Canada’s version of the US Open Cup), but it must be said they were the only MLS team in the competition and only had to knock off the Montreal and Vancouver USL teams to win it. Toronto’s roster has been completely overhauled a number of times since their inception, giving Director of Soccer Mo Johnston the nickname of Trader Mo. Johnston has brought in former Chivas USA coach Preki to try to secure their first playoff berth this season. Toronto has lost its first two games this season, a 2-0 defeat against Columbus and a 4-1 loss at the hands of the New England Revolution. The loss to NE saw TFC concede 4 goals in the second half after being up 1-0 at half time.
Players Brought In: Goalkeeper Jon Conway was signed shortly before the start of the season, but the former Chivas man should remain a back up to last year’s starter Stefan Frei. Argentinean midfielder Martin Saric joined the Reds after spending a few years kicking around the Romanian league. Latvian left back Raivis Hscanovics, Canadian international Adrian Cann, and Russian Maxim Usanov were brought in just last week to try and sure up what so far has been a very shaky defense.
Players Departed: Where to begin? Amado Guevara, Carl Robinson, Adrian Serioux, Greg Sutton and Pablo Vitti were all let go in the off-season. Serioux and Robinson logged the most appearances last year. Most notably, veteran defender Marvell Wynn was traded to Colorado shortly before the start of the season. The occasional US international was a fan favorite and one of the team’s best defenders.
What to Look For and Who to Watch: Canadian internationals Dwayne De Rosario and Julian de Guzman should be the engines for the team. Look for De Rosario playing as a link between the midfield and lone striker Chad Barrett, while de Guzman should be a bit further back distributing balls from deep in the midfield. While TFC has only scored one goal so far this season, De Rosario is always dangerous and Barrett is a solid MLS style striker. The Toronto defense has been leaky to say the least, not only in giving up 6 goals in two games, but a few embarrassing gaffs against New England on the weekend should see some new starters in the back for TFC. Stefan Frei is a solid young goalkeeper and he should see veteran Nick Garcia marshaling the back line in front of him, but Garcia had a nightmare game against New England, so the back line is a bit hard to predict. Like against DC on Saturday, look for the Union to see some chances in front of goal. We’ll just have to hope Le Toux’s magic can continue and that the rest of the Union offense can finish some chances.