Toronto FC will not get a break from league play between the first and second legs of the Concacaf Champions League final.
TFC president Bill Manning told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday night that the club’s April 21 match at the Houston Dynamo will not be moved to accommodate Toronto’s appearance in the CCL final against Chivas Guadalajara. The TFC-Houston match falls directly between the first leg of the CCL final at BMO Field next Tuesday, April 17 and the return leg in Mexico on April 24.
“We’re going to play the game and we’re going to manage our lineup,” said Manning. “It’ll be a very, very reserve-driven lineup.”
Manning told the Toronto Sun on Wednesday that it hadn’t yet been determined if the Houston match would be re-scheduled. MLS moved matches for Toronto and the New York Red Bulls during the CCL semis, re-scheduling TFC’s date with D.C. United and New York’s match with Houston. Had the TFC-Dynamo match been moved, Houston would’ve only played two matches in all of April.
Toronto will play at Colorado on Saturday, then return to Toronto after the match to begin preparations for Tuesday’s first leg against Chivas at BMO Field. They’ll leave Canada and either head back to Denver or travel to Guadalajara next Thursday to acclimate to the altitude they’ll face in Leg 2.
The traveling roster will head to Texas on Friday or Saturday for the match and leave immediately after the game, which will kick at 2 pm CT. Players not included in the 18 for the Dynamo game will remain in Colorado or Guadalajara.
“Our guys will be training at altitude and then we’ll fly in, possibly day of game, and then fly out after the game to get our guys back training,” said Manning. “It’ll likely be a starting XI who won’t be in the 18 for Guadalajara.”
Manning said that TFC head coach Greg Vanney will have the final say on whether the team trains in the Denver area or in Guadalajara after Leg 1. Both cities are roughly one mile above sea level.