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Toronto FC looks to new set of forwards with Giovinco, Altidore absent

TORONTO — Without Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore, the high-flying Toronto FC offence will have to find goals elsewhere Saturday in Seattle.

Giovinco (17 goals) is nursing an adductor injury while Altidore (10) is away with the U.S. national team. The diverse pair have combined to score 61 per cent of Toronto's 44 goals with TFC leading MLS at 1.76 goals a game.

Third on the Toronto goal-scoring list this season is captain Michael Bradley with four.

"The good thing is we have lots of forwards on our team," coach Greg Vanney said cheerfully this week.

Luke Moore, Herculez Gomez and Robbie Findley are attacking options, showing the depth of Toronto's roster. Having a former English Premier League player and two World Cup veterans in reserve is a luxury not available to most.

"They still have some very good players," said Seattle coach Sigi Schmid.

How Vanney uses them depends on his formation. He has fielded both 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 formations of late, with the 4-4-2 featuring Bradley at the tip of a diamond midfield.

Schmid has his own questions at forward with Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Nelson Valdez all available.

Dempsey, like Bradley, skipped the U.S. friendly against Peru on Friday. Both players will join the Americans for Tuesday's match against Brazil in Foxborough, Mass.

The Sounders have lost Panamanian defender Roman Torres and Guatemalan midfielder Marco Pappa to international duty.

Toronto (11-10-4) goes into weekend play in fourth spot in the East. Vanney will no doubt be hoping that New England and Orlando City, the two teams immediately below Toronto, tie when they meet Saturday.

Toronto outscored its opposition 7-1 over the last two games — with Giovinco and Altidore combining for four of those goals —and is looking for its first three-game win streak since late May-early June. Seattle (12-13-2) enters the weekend in sixth place in the West in an up-and-down season.

"I think they're figuring out some things as they get guys healthy and as they put their group together," said Vanney.

The Sounders are coming off a 2-1 win over rival Portland before 64,358 at CenturyLink Field

Toronto has another hole to fill in the midfield with Collen Warner facing a two-game ban for hacking down Montreal's Dominic Oduro last week.

Vanney hopes to have Benoit Cheyrou back. The influential midfielder left Toronto's 2-1 win over the Impact with an ankle injury but it was not deemed serious.

Toronto defenders Damien Perquis (quad, hip) and Nick Hagglund (knee) are said to be close to returning but may be held out to avoid the long trip to Seattle with three games in a week (against New England, New York City FC and Colorado) starting Sept. 13.

Toronto has been more circumspect in its team news recently with a club official declining to detail its travel roster.

Toronto's career record in Seattle is 1-3-1. After Seattle, Toronto has just two away games left in its remaining eight regular-season outings.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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