Toronto FC will play host to the Eastern Conference-leading New England Revolution on Saturday as the Reds look to build upon their second win of the season, which came last time out against New York City FC.
A 1-0 victory at home was much-needed for Bob Bradley and his squad after falling apart in Philadelphia the week prior. A second-straight contest at BMO Field provides the opportunity of creating a first win streak of 2023.
Even without key players, TFC were able to play a complete game last weekend, and fans will see their players put to the test once more this Saturday against one of the league’s top teams. Michael Bradley and Jonathan Osorio, two pillars of Toronto’s midfield, will miss the Revolution tilt with their respective lower body injuries. Alonso Coello Camarero and Brandon Servania are in line to earn successive starts in place of Toronto’s two stars.
Centre-back Matt Hedges returned from concussion protocol in the win against NYCFC, shoring up a defence which struggled in his absence, allowing six goals in two games against Atlanta and Philadelphia. He will reunite with Sigurd Rosted once more against New England, forming what has quietly been one of the league’s best centre-back duos through the first two months of the MLS season.
The big storyline out of the last match was newcomer C.J. Sapong and his debut goal. The MLS journeyman made an instant impact in Toronto and supporters will hope that the 34-year-old can continue to be the answer up top. Given Ayo Akinola’s scoring struggles and Adama Diomande’s injury problems, expect to see Bob Bradley ride the hot hand and start the 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year up top in-between Federico Bernardeschi and Lorenzo Insigne.
Even though the clean sheet triumph over NYCFC was a step in the right direction, Toronto’s next contenders will likely be tougher to get the best of. New England have been among the best teams in MLS through the first 10 weeks of the campaign.
Saturday evening’s opponents arrive in Toronto in red-hot form, having lost just one match so far this season. Riding a eight-game undefeated run, the Revolution haven’t conceded more than one goal in a game since being turned aside by LAFC in a 4-0 loss back in mid-March.
Unfortunately for head coach Bruce Arena, an ACL tear suffered by young midfielder Dylan Borrero is a big cause for concern. In eight games played the Colombian managed two goals and an assist, as his sophomore season has been cruelly cut short. Borrero joins defender Henry Kessler on the shelf, with the American out long-term with a hamstring injury.
New England have been amongst the most solid clubs at the back in 2023, and their last time of defence has played a big part in that. Serbian goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic has quickly become one of the league’s best at the position and is already garnering transfer interest from overseas because of his shot-stopping heroics.
Last season, the 23-year-old denied Lorenzo Insigne from the spot during a goalless game in Foxborough, and just last week he became the fastest goalie in MLS history to save five penalties after denying FC Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta. Toronto’s attacking stars will have their work cut out for them in front of goal if they are to get the better of the 6’4” netminder.
In the attacking department, New England have found a way to spread out their scoring through the early part of the season. Five players on the roster have two or more goals, and only forward Giacomo Vrioni has more than a pair of tallies. The Albanian international is questionable to feature in Toronto, with one of Gustavo Bou or Bobby Wood likely to start.
Yet to score or start a match this season is TFC legend, and current Revolution forward Jozy Altidore. Second in all-time goals for Toronto, the striker missed out on a return to BMO Field in 2022 after being loaned out to Club Puebla of Liga MX. Altidore now has the chance to earn a nice reception from the crowd in his return to the city as an opposition player.
Toronto FC: Johnson; Petretta, Rosted, Hedges, Laryea; Kaye, Coello, Servania; Insigne, Sapong, Bernardeschi
New England Revolution: Petrovic; Jones, Romney, Farrell, Bye; Blessing, Polster; Boateng, Gil, Buck; Bou
- Toronto FC have not won twice in a row since August 2022
- Mark-Anthony Kaye has won the second most tackles in MLS this season with 25
Opponent: New England Revolution
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET
Watch: MLS Season Pass
Stadium: BMO Field, Toronto, Ont.