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After a bye week from MLS play, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are back in action this Sunday, May 8 as they face Eastern Conference side Toronto FC in an all-Canadian clash at BC Place.

The match will mark the start of a four-game homestand across all competitions for the ‘Caps over the course of the next 11 days.

After Sunday, the Blue and White will then host Canadian Premier League side Valour FC in the Canadian Championship on Wednesday, May 11, San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, May 14 and culminate the homestand against FC Dallas on Wednesday, May 18.

Dating back to last season, the ‘Caps have tallied an 8W-2L-2D record in their last 12 matches at home and their .750 win percentage at BC Place since 2021 is tied for best in the league with Colorado, New England, and Philadelphia.

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As for Toronto, the side is coming off back-to-back losses against FC Cincinnati, including a 2-0 mid-week defeat at TQL Stadium.

To get you set for Sunday’s match-up, we look at the key players to watch for TFC as well as some of their tactical philosophies.

ONE TO WATCH

A big part of Toronto’s offensive game this season has been the addition of striker Jesús Jiménez, who was acquired from Polish side Górnik Zabrze back in February.

The 28-year-old Spaniard is tied for the league lead in goals heading into Week 9 with seven strikes so far.

What’s made Jiménez so efficient 10 games into his MLS career has been his attacking position and awareness in front of goal.

Even in the most difficult of situations he’s been able to find space, case in point this goal against Philadelphia Union a few weeks ago.

As you can see, Jiménez may not have as much space in the box but given his experience and knowing where the goal is, he makes a quick decision to curl a shot to the far post and grab himself a goal despite having little space around him.

It’ll be crucial the ‘Caps keep an eye on Jiménez this Sunday to prevent him from adding to his tally.

FREE GUYS

Another reason why Jiménez has been so successful this season has been the play of Jonathan Osorio, Alejandro Pozuelo and Jayden Nelson.

Despite all three of them starting in different positions on the field, the trio have been given a free roam license from head coach Bob Bradley to go wherever they need to create chaos for opposing defences.

If you look at the goal, Pozuelo and Nelson are roaming around the box to bring the attention of other defenders, while Osorio drives forward from his centre midfield position into the box.

Meanwhile, Jiménez is able to isolate himself 1v1 to have a chance at goal and ultimately find the back of the net.

In other cases this season, Osorio has become a threat arriving late in the box, with both of his two goals coming after making late runs into the box.

Pozuelo and Nelson also have the ability to cause problems on the ball inside the box, both possessing dangerous, raw dribbling and an eye for a pass.

ATTACKING OUT WIDE

An important offensive key for the ‘Caps on Sunday will be taking advantage of attacking in wide areas.

Toronto have conceded eight goals off crosses into the box from wide areas, including once in their last match against Cincinnati on Wednesday.

If the ‘Caps can overload wide areas, get numbers in the box and put in dangerous balls into the box, it could cause plenty of problems for the TFC backline.

Don’t miss the newest chapter of the Canadian clash this Sunday, May 8 at BC Place, with kick-off set for 1 p.m. PT. You can catch the match live on CTV, TSN2 and AM730, with the radio pre-game show starting at 12 p.m. PT. Tickets are still available at www.whitecapsfc.com/tickets.