Toronto FC’s losing the left side of its defense during the second leg of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal, made its victory over Tigres all the more impressive.
The Reds were forced to substitute MLS Best XI fullback Justin Morrow early on at Estadio Universitario, and centerback Chris Mavinga followed him off shortly after.
Fortunately for TFC, neither injury looks too serious — for now.
Mavinga has an ongoing problem that may need to be addressed, rather than just managed, at some point during the year.
“Chris is looking pretty good, actually,” Toronto coach Greg Vanney said. “I think he’s very probable for this weekend. And tomorrow, when he gets out and really runs around and works, we’ll know a lot more. But I think from how he feels and everything, he’s doing well.
“It’s still kind of surrounding this growing potential sports hernia area that was aggravated in that play — he kind of overstretched there a little bit and aggravated that same general region. By coming out of it, icing, taking care of him quickly, he’s been able to get on the other side of it a little bit quicker. It’s something we’re going to have to take care of when the time is right and the window is right.”
Asked if there is a possibility of Mavinga having to be shut down for a period later in the season, Vanney said: “I don’t know that for sure, but you don’t want to be in a situation where you have something that, if you keep reaggravating it, you’re kind of questionable from day to day, week to week. At some point, to get him on the other side of that… we don’t want that to linger on too long.
“But obviously we know we’re in an important part of the season right now, too. So we’ll find the right solution in the right moment and take care of him.”
Morrow’s issue is with his calf. He may miss Saturday’s first 401 Derby of the season at the Montreal Impact, but he is not expected to be absent beyond the upcoming international window.
“Justin is kind of day to day,” Vanney added. “He’s working through some of the tightness in the calf and we’ll see how he fares. We’ll have a better idea tomorrow.”
Toronto midfielder Victor Vázquez, who appeared only from the bench against Tigres due to back tightness that is putting pressure on a nerve, is in contention to play some part in Montreal.
He may, however, be one of the players Vanney does not risk on the artificial turf at Stade Olympique, which the coach called “dangerous” after the away leg of a 2016 playoff tie between the two teams.
Jozy Altidore, who went the full 90 minutes in Mexico and has a history of muscle injuries, may be another candidate for a rest for that reason.
“Victor is improving daily,” Vanney said. “He’s available for selection this weekend.
“We’ll obviously choose wisely as we go down there, but he’s making progress day to day. It’s loosening up and trying to take a little bit of the pressure off of this nerve that is kind of sending a sensation down his leg that is not normal.”