Fresh off the midweek win against Chelsea, Charlotte FC head to Toronto with newfound confidence in their first encounter with the original Canadian MLS team.
Here are the three ingredients of the match for Toronto FC:
What was seen by many as terrible timing to play a friendly against Chelsea, may turn out to be exactly what the team needed after the loss against Miami. The loss was incredibly difficult for the players to cope with mentally as one can imagine it would be giving up a 2 – 0 lead. However, the win against Chelsea has breathed new life into the team.
“It takes a lot of character and the boys show that today and I hope they take a lot of confidence out of that because we have many important games to play in MLS,” said interim head coach Christian Lattanzio after the Chelsea match. “We need to go and approach them with the same resilience that we need today.”
Soccer is a psychological game and the teams who are in a better state mentally tend to win if they take advantage of it. The team needs to ride the wave of positivity and confidence that came with the Chelsea match against a Toronto side that has lost four of their last five matches.
Win Possession Battle
The match against Miami was one of the few matches this season that Charlotte lost the possession battle. Miami were able to generate lots of attacks and limit chances for Charlotte because they saw most of the ball.
Just as possession is important for offense, it’s just as important for defense. In fact, keeping the ball is the best form of defense, especially against players that can single-handedly win matches.
On paper, Toronto now boasts one of the best attacks in MLS. The likely starting attacking trio of Jesús Jiménez Lorenzo, Lorenzo Insigne, and Federico Bernardeschi can cause a lot of damage... but not if they rarely touch the ball. Limiting these players’ touches will help nullify their influence over the game and in turn, give Charlotte opportunities to exploit a poor Toronto defense.
Punish Toronto's Defense
Toronto have conceded the 3rd most amount of goals this MLS season. While particularly dangerous up front with their new signings, it’s their defensive fragility that has been their consistent downfall all season. They've allowed a goal for 29 straight MLS matches, just one match away from tying the second-longest regular season run in league history.
The Reds are bound to make mistakes and concede scoring opportunities – chances that Charlotte can’t afford to blunder. The team has reiterated throughout the season that they need to be more clinical, and finish matches off. Punishing Toronto for defensive lapses or individual mistakes will be a step towards that and lead to a crucial three points for the Crown.
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