Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Hits the Road Again, Looking to Get Right Balance in Tactics

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto FC Hits the Road Again, Looking to Get Right Balance in Tactics

Article excerpt

Toronto looks to get tactics right on road

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After a brief stop at home, it's back on the road for Toronto FC.

Saturday's game in New England is the ninth away game in 11 outings in all competitions this season for Toronto (3-5-0 in MLS play). It's also the fifth match in two weeks for Toronto.

The lopsided schedule, due to renovations at BMO Field, has caused some tactical headaches for Toronto. Leaking goals on the road, it adopted a more defensive formation by playing two flat lines of four in midfield and the backline.

But that proved too passive in last Sunday's home opener against Houston, a 2-1 loss. And head coach Greg Vanney was forced to play a more aggressive style, with fullbacks thundering up the wings and a more attacking midfield diamond formation as Toronto chased goals in a midweek Amway Canadian Championship semifinal against Montreal.

Toronto won 3-2 on the night but lost the two-game series on the away goals rule with the aggregate tied at 3-3.

Expect a formation somewhere in the middle Saturday, with Toronto returning to the flat lines without the ball and expanding to the diamond midfield with it.

Toronto designated players Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco were outstanding Wednesday. Altidore had a goal and set up the other two, including one by Giovinco. Bradley, playing a more forward role, was also influential.

Whatever the formation, give it to Giovinco has been an effective strategy for Toronto.

"He's exciting, he can do a lot of things," said Vanney. "At any given moment, he can break open a game. That's why it's important for us to make sure that we keep him involved and get him the ball when we can.

"And not just sit and watch, but actually move off of him. And I think that's something we'll continue to get better at as we continue to feed him the ball and get used to each other."

The opposition realizes that. …

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