Union-TFC: Lineups and observations
- Whatever Jim Curtin’s plan was this week was likely scrapped Friday with news that CJ Sapong would be suspended indefinitely after a DUI arrest that requires entering MLS’ Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) program. Curtin had tipped him to be an option on the win, but instead, the struggling Andrew Wenger will have to struggle through their issues on the field instead of on the bench.
- One absence was expected, the other a later fitness test. But the Union will be without two components of the team’s spine in Vincent Nogueira (ankle) and Steven Vitoria (groin). That leaves Ethan White to return to central defense while Zach Pfeffer pairs Michael Lahoud in midfield. Against Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco, that’s a tall, tall task for the Union.
- As anticipated, Chris Konopka gets the nod in the goal for TFC, his first appearance since 2012 … with the Union … against TFC. More on that here. The Union, meanwhile, go with John McCarthy for a fifth straight game. He’s given up eight goals in his first four starts.
- On the bright side, the Union are 6-2-4 all-time vs. Toronto, their last loss coming in May 2012, that game Konopka started. On the downside, they are beat up and in desperate need of a result, and desperation rarely breeds success in PPL Park.
- In addition to Toronto’s Big 3, Greg Vanney goes attacking with Robbie Findley as a winger in the 4-4-2. Union got torn up on the wings last week in Columbus, and even with Sheanon Williams back in the side, Vanney sees an exploitable battle.