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Preview: A Quick Look At Toronto FC

Having been taken apart against Montreal in their previous league game, the Union are back in Canada but this time will take on an Anglophone team from the land of maple syrup and lumberjacks.


It's fair to say that Toronto FC are not doing very well this season. Now twelve games into the 2013 MLS, they have only won a single fixture and are currently on a five game losing streak.

Typically set up in a 4-4-2 formation, Toronto's starting XI has rarely been the same from game to game, especially in midfield. As well as lacking a settled line-up, the home side have also struggled to help out their leading striker, Robert Earnshaw. Danny Koevermans might be back on the bench after ten months out through injury but he will still be lacking match fitness and so his impact should be minimal today.

Indeed, as Toronto's plight has worsened, the more Earnshaw has tried to put the team on his back. Although he has scored five goals this season, his thirty-one shots on goal are twice as many as anyone else on the team. Given, Earnshaw's height (5"8), he's obviously not too much of an aerial threat so opposing defenses can simply mark him with a defender who won't get exposed by the striker's pace. Shut down Earnshaw it seems and Toronto struggle.

Equally flakey is Toronto's defense, which has looked alarmingly shaky at times and prone to lapses of concentration. Former Celtic defender Darren O'Dea has started every game but has lacked a consistent partner in the centre of defense. Danny Califf has been one of those players but he has been absent from the team in the last few games. On Tuesday, he had to be given a public reassurance by rookie manager Ryan Nelson that the former Union player has a future with the team.

Even though the Union did not look wonderful in their 2-1 win against Ocean City, they should still fancy their chances against Toronto. Ideally, Union's wide players will step up against a defense that has looked especially weak down the flanks whilst whoever is starting at the back needs to pay close attention to Earnshaw.

The Union need to show some ruthlessness today against a beleaguered opposition. If they do, then suddenly the visit to Toronto becomes eminently winnable.