TORONTO – There’s no place like home, or so the saying goes, but for Toronto FC, the start of the 2015 season will see them on the road until the early May.
With BMO Field undergoing renovations that will see it add 8,400 seats, Toronto FC will kick things off next season with an away match at BC Place on Sunday, March 7. Toronto will take on familiar Canadian opposition in the Vancouver Whitecaps that day, and then travel the continent before their home opener against the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, May 10.
“We’re on course to open up phase one at the beginning of May,” TFC general manager Tim Bezbatchenko said Thursday, confirming that renovations were right on track with no delays. “I would anticipate that we’d be on the road so that’s going to be in the neighborhood of seven to eight games we’ll be on the road.”
With such a long road stretch, Toronto will find it more challenging than most other clubs to get off to a strong start. But head coach Greg Vanney is feeling confident despite the tough travel and scheduling.
“I don’t think anything changes – actually, my personal belief is that, through the vast majority of the stadiums in this league, it’s not that difficult [to play away from home],” Vanney said earlier in November. “There are a few [stadia] where maybe it’s turf and you’re not used to playing on turf or some where they have bigger crowds than others but aside from the travel, the stadiums and preparations and getting results on the road is not impossible.”
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Vanney says that overcoming the challenge of a long road trip will come down to his team’s identity and how well his side picks up on some of the new lessons he’ll be implementing before the start of the 2015 season.
“It’s tough, especially when you start so many [away games] in a row, but based on the style of play that we want to play, I think we will understand how we want to manage games and stay in games and be stingier about points than we were this year, both on a defensive standpoint and being more proficient in our execution on the attacking side,” Vanney said.