Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney says his team can benefit from what he hopes is a brief spell without Sebastian Giovinco.
The star striker suffered quadriceps and adductor strains in Toronto's 1-0 Major League Soccer loss to Montreal on Saturday, and the team announced he would miss four weeks.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Vanney painted a brighter picture.
"We are optimistic his recovery will be shorter than estimated," he said.
While Vanney acknowledged that Toronto will not be able to replace the skill and creativity Giovinco brings to the table, he said his offence has the talent to cause problems without the Italian and can give the opposition new looks on offence.
"Sebastian is a guy who can turn nothing into something really quickly, but without him we've got a target striker in Jozy (Altidore), we've got very mobile players who are capable with the ball," Vanney said.
He also said that they can deploy an offence with more size in Giovinco's absence. Dubbed "The Atomic Ant," the skilled but diminutive Giovinco stands five foot four.
"If we get wide and get crosses in the box, we have more size in the box theoretically," he said.
Still, Vanney acknowledged that Toronto will have to create its opportunities from "collective play" minus the individual brilliance of Giovinco, who has 17 goals and 13 assists in 29 appearances between MLS and the Amway Canadian Championship.
"To be honest, no one can pull off a play like Seba can pull off a play, and no one can change a game in this league like Seba can change a game, so that's a real factor."
But he said that a chance to prove TFC can play well without Giovinco will only strengthen the team when the reigning league MVP returns.
Despite the loss to Montreal, Vanney said he was pleased with how last week played out. Toronto won 2-1 in Orlando on Wednesday to move into first place in the Eastern Conference.
The Reds are off until Sept. 10, when they visit the Chicago Fire. The break comes at a welcome time as Toronto is also without midfielder Jay Chapman (knee) and defender Ashtone Morgan (foot).