Toronto FC: Big names, but there's nothing to fear for RSL on Saturday

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC have some very good players coming on Saturday. That Jermain Defoe fellow played well in England for a bit, that Michael Bradley character is one of the best American players today. Oh, and they have some Brazilian goalkeeper, but it's not like he's a world-beater, right?

So, yeah, they've got some good players. And they have some quality players we haven't mentioned — Dwayne De Rosario may be on the older side of the equation but he's hardly the worst player, that Brazilian Gilberto is probably pretty good, and they do have that Jackson fellow that always gave us trouble when he was with FC Dallas.

But honestly? We don't have anything to worry about.

First, Jackson might be out. Alright, fine — that's not the biggest, best thing, but really, I think he loved playing against us.

Second, outside of their key players, there hasn't been much of a threat from Toronto generally. Let's look specifically at their full backs first. Justin Morrow, San Jose Earthquakes legend, presents our first opportunity of attack. His passing against both Seattle and DC United was quite poor (64 and 55 percent accuracy, respectively), leaving us with a player to run at and to force turnovers from. On the right side, they have Mark Bloom, whose passing has been even worse than Morrow — 56 percent and 46 percent for the same matches, respectively.

When you, as a full back, have worse passing accuracy than Fabian Espindola playing in the middle for D.C., you have significant, spottable problems.

If we widen our midfield approach to pressure their midfielders, or if we keep it narrow to draw them in, we'll be putting ourselves in good positions.

In fact, in both of those matches, they were quite handily out-passed and out-played — except in that one peculiar statistic: goals. Indeed, Toronto has more or less let other teams play them off the park, knowing they can push one forward for Defoe and grab a goal.

It's a shame, really, that Michael Bradley, a very capable midfielder, is being played in such a rudimentary system. Imagine him at Real Salt Lake in front of Kyle Beckerman: He'd be involved in play and given the opportunity to influence play regularly — not being forced to play with full backs that can't pass a ball. He should be playing on a team looking to control play, because that's what he excels at — not a team that actively works to not control play. At any rate, it weakens him. We have no reason to fear Michael Bradley, and indeed, we should be excited to watch him face up against our captain.

So what do we have to be worried about from Toronto FC? Turnovers in good positions, as always. Defending set pieces, as always. You know — exactly the things we know we need to work on.

Does that mean it'll be a walk in the park? Not particularly. But despite the presence of a few notable names, Toronto FC should present less of a threat to us than we've faced in our first three matches.

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