Editorial (February 19, 2018) – Toronto FC is set to take on Colorado Rapids tomorrow in Leg One of the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16. Last Word on Soccer got to sit down with Head Coach Greg Vanney and defender Drew Moor to talk about the match.
Vanney on Toronto FC Leg One: System may vary but the things that we do don’t change
There are number of factors going into this match. This game could be the coldest match an MLS team has ever played in. This will also be the first competitive match for both teams this calendar year. The Colorado Rapids are a completely different team from last year. Here’s what TFC is dealing with going into Leg One.
Depending on the source you check and when you check, the weather could be cold or the coldest match an MLS team has ever played in. Snow is very likely tomorrow night. It will be below freezing and it is possible the temperature could get to sub-zero Fahrenheit with wind chill.
That said, the DSG Park grounds crew has been through this before with Snow Clasico I (USMNT vs. Costa Rica) and II (Rapids vs. New York Red Bulls back in 2016). The field should be ready to go pending multiple feet of snow.
“All things considered, it’s not too bad, the conditions. The field actually plays pretty decent. Footing might be the only concern. There’s no telling what the conditions might be tomorrow,” Drew Moor told Last Word on Soccer. “I don’t think the cold should be that much of problem. You have to adapt as the game goes on.”
Tactics and adjustments:
How Toronto FC will line up is one of the great questions of this match up. Most MLS fans haven’t seen a 5-3-2 vs. 5-3-2 before. Vanney’s also been tactically flexible in the past depending on the opponent and the result needed. He didn’t give away too much when asked but he did drop a few hints:
“Our system may vary but the things that we do don’t change. We’re going to try and continue that tomorrow. Right now the conditions play in a way that we feel we can play soccer.”
It’s clear that how the Reds will play their style, even if the roles and positions are a bit different. They could line up more conservatively in terms of their formation, but they aren’t hear to bunker for 90 minutes. Vanney isn’t favoring a road goal over a clean sheet either.
“Right now our objective is to come here and set ourselves up in the best possible circumstances. We’ll play to try and score a goal. We’ll play to try and keep a shut out. We need to stay organized. We adapt as the game goes; the game will tell us a little bit along the way as to what we need to be doing differently or staying the same. We’re going to try and play to win and see where the game goes.”
This match could be a game of cat and mouse. TFC will be adjusting depending on the situation and what they can do to get a result.
It was found out earlier this week that center back Chris Mavinga and midfielder Jay Chapman did not travel with the squad. They will not be available for leg one. Other than that, the rest of the squad is healthy and available. The conditions won’t limit or rule any players out for the game according to Vanney.