It’s already been a hectic week for Toronto FC but things are about to get a lot more interesting. After falling to their biggest rivals in the Canadian Championship on Tuesday, the Reds are back in action on Saturday evening in Montreal, hoping to bounce back from a devastating 2-1 loss.

In their first midweek match of the season, Toronto struggled to deal with Hernán Losada’s Montreal side, who all of a sudden have five wins on the trot after a horrid start to the 2023 campaign.

Somehow the result on Tuesday took a backseat to some of the other shenanigans that took place in Toronto. Skirmishes between opposing fans and a post-match confrontation between TFC supporters and midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye were all anyone was talking about the next day. Since that night, four of those in attendance at BMO Field have received permanent bans from MLSE facilities, and the visitor’s supporters section at Stade Saputo has been closed for Saturday’s follow-up contest.

In the midst of the madness, Bob Bradley has had to deal with a depleted squad, as eight first team players have been ruled out of Saturday’s match with injury.

Reversing the recent trend of poor results in what will surely be a hostile environment after the incidents which occurred on Tuesday will be a tall task, especially considering the lack of experience Toronto will have at the back.

Sigurd Rosted exited the cup defeat and headed straight to the dressing room, while Matt Hedges was a late scratch from the starting lineup as he tries to fight off a lower body injury. His replacement on Tuesday was Shane O’Neill, but he will also not be available for the upcoming fixture.

Centre-back Aimé Mabika will more than likely be thrown into his second start for his new club after being acquired from Inter Miami less than three weeks ago. Who starts beside the towering defender is another matter. With Mabika currently standing as the only fit first team centre-back, the club has signed Antony Curic from TFC II. The 22-year-old could be in line for his first-ever start for the senior team.

Bradley could also opt to cover the defence with a back three, but in doing so would be playing someone like Raoul Petretta or perhaps Kaye out of their natural position. No matter the case, stopping the Montreal attack will have to be an all hands on deck approach with Toronto so decimated by injury in crucial positions.

The injury issues could not have come at a worse time for Bradley, as Saturday’s match could potentially have ramifications for his job security. Many supporters have lost patience with their team, and another disastrous performance this weekend could push President Bill Manning to at least seriously consider a change at Head Coach.

As Toronto begins to falter, Montreal have seemingly turned the tide after losing six of their first seven league matches to start the year. Losada has managed to steady his ship while Bradley has been left to bail water out of his metaphorical boat, hoping to avoid sinking further down the standings.

Mathieu Choiniere has been a revelation at central midfield for Montreal, earning back-to-back MLS Team of the Matchday nods. The 24-year-old has without a doubt been one of the best performing Canadians in MLS through the first weeks of the season and he has been a huge reason why Montreal have been able to pick up results as of late.

Ariel Lassiter and Bryce Duke, formerly of Inter Miami, have also had strong starts to their careers up north, even after many questioned the deal which sent Canadian defender Kamal Miller to Florida.

Predicted Lineups

CF Montréal: Sirois; Corbo, Camacho, Waterman; Lassiter, Wanyama, Choiniere, Herrera; Rea; Quioto, Offor

Toronto FC: Johnson; Petretta, Curic, Mabika, Laryea; Kaye, Marshall-Rutty, Servania; Insigne, Sapong, Bernardeschi

Game Notes

  • Toronto FC have one win in their last eight meetings with CF Montréal in all competitions
  • CF Montréal have allowed one goal in their last five matches in all competitions, winning all five

Match Details

Opponent: CF Montréal

Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET

Watch: MLS Season Pass

Stadium: Stade Saputo, Montreal, Que.