“It’s been a while. At this point, it’ll take a little bit of a miracle to be out there on Sunday,” he said, referencing the MLS Cup final in Seattle against the Sounders. “But that’s where I am. And I’ve just got to try to keep trying to get myself there.”
That means more run for Tsubasa Endoh and Patrick Mullins, and the Reds are a big underdog for Sunday’s afternoon match.
It also means, which perhaps it should have any way, that Josh Sargent should be front and center for a massive CONCACAF Nations League match against Canada on Nov. 15.
Toronto will bring star power to go with a challenging formation; While accolades rightly go to Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and Sebastian Giovinco, the Reds’ 3-5-2 under Greg Vanney features versatile wide men in Steven Beitashour and Justin Morrow.
Seattle is powered through Nicolas Lodeiro, the ex-Boca Juniors playmaker who has been nearly as effective as Giovinco (albeit with a smaller MLS sample size). Goalkeeper Stefan Frei, the ex-TFC man, has been very good at the back, but can the Sounders’ back line handle Altidore and Giovinco?
The metronomes could be the difference. Bradley’s been good for TFC, but Osvaldo Alonso gave an MLS MVP caliber performance this season.
Toronto FC keeper Irwin on the weather: “It’s probably the most difficult part. As a field player, you can move around. You’re warmer, more active. At this point, there’s not much we can do other than bundle up, and I’ll stay moving back there.”
Look to the engine rooms here. Alonso is a handful and a magnificent passer of the ball. On his day, Bradley is even better. Will it be? Neither player will shirk from pressure. We’re thinking extra time after a 1-1 match. And Toronto’s depth and home field will propel it to a 2-1 win.
New England manager Jay Heaps has gone with 23-year-old winger Kelyn Rowe in the starting lineup on the left side, and they will look to push things wide. Rowe played just six minutes in the 2-2 draw with New York that sent the Revs to the final, coming on as a late substitute for Charlie Davies.
Rowe replaces Kevin Alston, who drops to the bench, and Chris Tierney moves back into the back line.