Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s squad battles MLS opposition for the first time when the blue white and gold take on TFC this Saturday (7:30 pm, Spectrum SportsNet) at the newly branded Dignity Health Sports Park.
What to watch
A new era has kicked off. Yes, it’s merely a preseason tune-up. All the hard work the players have put into Javier Valdecantos’ grueling training regimen will likely take a few more weeks to bear fruit.
And yet there is genuine excitement from a fanbase eager to observe the ideas the Schelotto twins have imposed on the squad. Earlier this week Ola Kamara notched a brace as a LA Galaxy side deployed in a 4-4-2 formation dominated David Villa and Andres Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe.
Tension FC? The 2017 MLS Cup champs have had a turbulent winter to put it mildly. Dutch international right back Gregory Van der Wiel will never play for TFC again after mouthing off to manager (and former Galaxy player) Greg Vanney. Club legend Sebastian Giovinco was transferred to Saudi Arabia and let everyone know how he felt on the way out.
The play on the field hasn’t been much brighter, as TFC were routed by Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights 5-1 last week.
How will Diego Polenta perform? Scott French posted an excellent writeup on the Uruguayan defender’s recent six-month sabbatical from the game. Keep in mind Polenta stepped away from football when the likes of AC Milan, Atlas and Marcelo Biesla’s Leeds had interest in the 27-year old. Unlike the hapless Michael Ciani, Polenta’s ability is very much not in doubt.
Though the center back has spent weeks training with the squad he isn’t quite up to match fitness yet, so it will be interesting to see how Polenta does.
Predicted starting 11
Giovani dos Santos has been ruled out of tomorrow’s action while Sebastian Lletget is still a question mark.
How to Watch
Date/Time Saturday, Feb 9th, 7:30 p.m.
Venue Dignity Health Sports Park
TV Spectrum SportsNet