Not many would have seen Toronto FC doing well in the CONCACAF Champions League but faltering in Major League Soccer at the start of the season. With two back-to-back defeats in the league however, that's exactly what we have now for the hosts on Friday evening. Real Salt Lake will come into BMO Field knowing that their opponents need a win to kick-start their season but will know that they have it in them to cause an upset.
Toronto welcome back international stars
Many of Toronto's players have been away on international duty over the last few weeks so it will be interesting to see what kind of team Greg Vanney puts out on Friday. Toronto also have another Champions League game next week so Vanney may have to rotate his team more than he would like to at this point.
Luckily for Toronto, they have the depth and the talent within their roster to stay on top of such a situation. As ever, fans will look to Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco to make their presence felt and help the team pick up their first win of the season. Víctor Vázquez, who just signed a contract extension, will be another that Vanney hopes will step up to the plate if selected. First team regulars Justin Morrow and Chris Mavinga are still recovering from injury so Greg Vanney may not risk them just yet, which leaves the Toronto defense a little more vulnerable than usual.
RSL look to win over NYRB as a boost
When Real Salt Lake were last involved in MLS action, they managed to produce an unlikely 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls. That performance will undoubtedly be used by head coach Mike Petke as inspiration against another 'giant' of the MLS in Toronto FC.
Although Toronto may have a different formation to that of NYRB and slightly different personnel, RSL will still feel that they can produce another shock result. Speaking to reporters after training, Brooks Lennon stated that the team needed to "come out with the same intensity as we did against New York" in order to get a result and he felt that RSL could do that. Considering how well Nick Rimando and company have been playing as of late, Lennon may very well be correct in his assessment.
Toronto have had difficulty creating chances over the last two league games which has succumbed them to consecutive home losses. That has to change and no doubt, Vanney will have worked on that during the break his team have had. If the hosts start slow, the likes of Albert Rusnák will look to capitalize on that and help RSL to another improbable win. Real Salt Lake may be up for a tough afternoon if Toronto find their rhythm again though and that's what I see happening.
Prediction: Toronto FC 2 - 0 Real Salt Lake
Quotes via mlssoccer.com