As injuries mount at TFC, Canadian midfielder Chapman looks to make his mark

Toronto FC forward Tosaint Ricketts, left, is congratulated on his goal by teammate Jay Chapman during second half MLS soccer action against the Real Salt Lake, in Toronto, Friday, March 30, 2018. As injuries mount for Toronto FC, Canadian midfielder Chapman is getting the opportunity to make his mark.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO - As injuries mount for Toronto FC, Canadian midfielder Jay Chapman is getting the opportunity to make his mark.

The 24-year-old showed what he was capable of in the first half of Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders, with three glorious scoring opportunities in the first half alone.

"Any time I'm called upon, I'm ready to do the job," Chapman said before Toronto's match at New England on Saturday. "With the amount of injuries that we have right now, guys like myself need to be ready to do contribute for the team.

Toronto (2-5-1) dropped three points in Wednesday's rematch of the previous two MLS Cup finals, and the problems didn't stop at the scoreline.

Midfielder Victor Vazquez was subbed out at half time due to a knee injury and is questionable for the game against the Revolution. It was also revealed following the game that midfielder Nicolas Hasler suffered a right quad strain in last Friday's 3-0 win over Philadelphia and will not be available.

"It's unfortunate to hear about Nico, but if that present the opportunity for me, I'm ready to take it," Chapman said.

Fellow Brampton native Jonathan Osorio said Chapman looked good against the Sounders, but added he needs to cash in on his opportunities.

"I think (on Wednesday) he was a bit unlucky. As long as he keeps that consistent, and goes into every game with the right mentality, I'm sure he'll keep getting more and more chances," Osorio said.

In addition to Vazquez and Hasler, TFC has been without Chris Mavinga (hamstring), Eriq Zavaleta (quad strain) and Nick Hagglund (hamstring), Justin Morrow (calf) and Drew Moor (quad tear) in recent weeks. On Tuesday the club announced that star forward Jozy Altidore underwent surgery to remove bone fragments from his foot and will miss the next 4-6 weeks.

Toronto heads to New England (4-3-2) in a familiar position. Both times Toronto travelled to New England last season it was after a midweek game, and the Reds lost both games.

"I feel like every year we go to New England, they have Wednesday off, we have a game, we're travelling there, and then we face New England," said TFC coach Greg Vanney. "We look at as every game as three points are important for us. We don't have games to give away in terms of trying to get ourselves into a bigger race for the Supporter's Shield. We're not giving up on any of that so in that aspect we don't have games to take lightly."

TFC heads to New England having dropped five of its first eight games and sit seven points back of the Revolution for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand.

New England meanwhile has picked up at least a point in six of their first nine games and won two of three meetings between the two clubs last season.

"They have an interesting set of athletes and guys who are good runners and some guys who are decent passers," said Vanney. "I think since (coach Brad Friedel) been there he has pushed them to be a little more aggressive in their setup and approach defensively.

"I think it's similar to us, he likes his line being active and dynamic and squeezing space and closing things up therefor they can make things difficult against you if it becomes clear for them."


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