Toronto FC vs. CF Montréal: What will define the new Canadian Classique?


Tactically speaking, Herdman's first real season as coach of a professional club team (any club team, not just Toronto) looked largely as we expected. But somehow at the same time it wasn't at all what we expected.

TFC has largely used a 3-4-3 formation, one that Herdman used quite often during his time as coach of the Canadian men's national team. Stylistically, they did a little bit of everything. They will apply pressure one moment before sitting deep the next. When attacking, they go straight into transition with the ball before taking off the gas and whirling the ball around. This flexibility may also seem familiar to Canadian fans.

With two extremely talented Italians in charge in Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne, Herdman always had to develop a system that allowed these two designated players to dictate the game with a solid structure around them.

But not all of Herdman's decisions were obvious. Rather, his decision to deploy Bernardeschi as an inverted right-back was one of MLS' most unexpected tactical changes.

Before this season, the 30-year-old's best version of Toronto's lineup had his name written in pen on the wing. Now Bernardeschi is an incredibly attacking full-back, allowing Herdman to squeeze an additional midfielder into the lineup. The Italian's defensive contributions are questionable, although Toronto can switch to a temporary back four, with the opposing full-back joining the three center backs to give him more freedom in the transition. If they don't, then… uh… here's what happens: