With five games left to play in the regular season (four at home), the Reds (13-8-8) are two points clear in the East, with a game in hand. On 47 points, TFC sits five adrift of FC Dallas in the race for the Supporter’s Shield. If they fail to become the first Canadian team to achieve the feat of topping the MLS pile East and West, the goal remains securing a home tie in the playoffs.
Also in Toronto’s ideal future is a return for Sebastian Giovinco but it’s unlikely to be this weekend. The Italian striker, who hasn’t played in September was described by manager Greg Vanney on Thursday as “questionable.”
Unquestionable is the form of Giovinco’s fellow DPs. Jozy Altidore’s pair of goals in the 3-3 draw with New York Red Bulls made it eight in eight games for the big American while his national team captain Michael Bradley scored his first of the season to start the comeback. Meanwhile, Vanney has a tougher call to make at the other end of the pitch. Stick with Alex Bono, who has performed admirably in Clint Irwin’s absence, for the run-in and you are surely giving him the nod in goal for the post-season. Will be harsh on someone either way.
The Union (11-11-8) are just six points back of Toronto but are now winless in three games following the 2-1 defeat on the road in Portland last weekend. Chris Pontius will lead the offense after scoring his 11th goal of the season against the Timbers but teammate and striker C.J. Sapong is on a six-game scoring drought.
The teams last played just over a month ago in Philadelphia, with goals from Giovinco, Altidore and Drew Moor securing a 3-1 win. The Reds defeated their Pennsylvanian rivals at BMO twice last season.
Toronto FC: C.Irwin, S.Beitashour, E.Zavaleta, D.Moor, J.Morrow, M.Bradley, M.Delgado, J.Osorio, W.Johnson, J.Altidore, J.Hamilton
Philadelphia: A.Blake, Fabinho, R.Marquez, J.Yaro, K.Rosenberry, A.Bedoya, B.Carroll, T.Barnetta, C.Pontius, F.Herbers, C.J. Sapong
Referee: Ismail Elfath