Having played five of their last seven league matches in front of their own fans, Toronto FC have two wins to show for it. Bob Bradley’s team has been shutout in five of those seven contests, scoring just three goals across 630 minutes of action.

Toronto’s scoring struggles will need to be amended if there is to be any hope of climbing up the Eastern Conference standings. Their next chance to collect points comes this Saturday when they travel to take on Minnesota United, just the club’s second road trip stateside since falling apart in Philadelphia in late April.

Courtesy: Sean Pollock/Waking the Red

An all-too-familiar story was told last time out for TFC in a goalless draw against the Chicago Fire. Even though the Reds were able to control the majority of the match and get shots off, the killer edge was again lacking. The clearcut scoring chances that did come did not fall the way of Lorenzo Insigne or Federico Bernardeschi, with the latter unable to have the desired impact or result in his return to the pitch after missing the win over D.C. United.

A positive development from what has otherwise been a lacklustre season from TFC so far has been the defensive solidity seen from the squad. The acquisitions of Sean Johnson and Matt Hedges in particular have been huge, adding much-needed stability to a backline that had been all over the place during the past two seasons. Additionally, the trade which brought Aimé Mabika to Toronto is looking better and better by the week, with the towering centre-back seemingly having earned his spot next to Hedges.

TFC did well to neutralize the threat of Chicago last time out, but play in the attacking third of the pitch left a lot to be desired, not for the first time this campaign. Goalscoring from strikers has been hard to come by while Insigne and Bernardeschi fail to deliver on the potential they teased during the 2022 season.

One player whose absence has been felt during the past month is club legend Jonathan Osorio, whose MCL strain has kept him out of the lineup since his side’s loss to the Union on April 23. Osorio quietly enjoyed one of his most productive individual seasons in 2022 and without him in the team, TFC have struggled to find any creativity from the midfield. With four goal contributions in his eight appearances this season, Toronto have averaged 1.5 goals per match with Osorio on the pitch, compared to the 0.4 mark when he hasn’t been involved.

According to TFC insider John Molinaro, Bradley shared on Thursday that he hopes Osorio will be back in full training next week. Aside from that update, it will be the same absentees on Saturday, with no other changes to the health report of the squad.

With matches starting to come thick and fast, as they say, Bradley might opt to shuffle around the team for the Minnesota matchup in hopes of keeping his players fresh. Rosted, Raoul Petretta, Brandon Servania, and CJ Sapong could be candidates to start after finding themselves on the bench for the midweek game against the Fire.

Minnesota United are currently in 7th place in the Western Conference, with 19 points through their first 15 games played. The Loons come into Saturday’s contest having lost their last match on the road to Austin FC, with a late Sebastián Driussi goal giving the hosts a 2-1 win.

It’s been a tale of two fates for Adrian Heath’s side in 2023, as his team have been strong on their travels, but poor on their home turf. Minnesota have just one win in six at Allianz Field compared to four in nine on the road.

Similarly to TFC, Minnesota have struggled to find consistent goalscoring in 2023, having scored 14 times in 15 matches. Only three clubs average fewer goals per game than the Loons.

South African forward Bongokuhle Hlongwane leads his team with four goals and comes into the Toronto match in good form, with two strikes in his last four league matches, including a stoppage-time winner in Portland on May 20.

On the injury front, Minnesota will be without Finnish midfielder Robin Lod for the foreseeable future after he tore his meniscus. Two key players could be returning to help the team soon, though. Defender Bakaye Dibassy is nearing his return to the field after a lengthy layoff, having suffered a ruptured quadricep tendon in August 2022. Designated Player Emanuel Reynoso could also find himself on the teamsheet shortly after being suspended by his club for not reporting to preseason activities. The Argentine playmaker is now back in Minnesota and participating in team activities.

As one DP returns, another is set to depart. Luis Amarilla is reportedly being shipped out of Minnesota to Liga MX amidst rumours that Finnish forward Teemu Pukki could make the switch to MLS, though nothing is concrete just yet. Amarilla was not part of the matchday squad in Minnesota’s last match.

Meanwhile, Canadian goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair will be between the sticks against his hometown team. The 2022 MLS All-Star has made 30 saves this season, helping him keep five clean sheets.

Another Canadian who fans won’t get to see on Saturday is former TFC defender Doneil Henry. The 30-year-old centre-back was waived by his club in the buildup to this weekend’s match. Henry failed to make an appearance for Minnesota’s senior side after signing with the team in December 2022.

Predicted Lineups

Minnesota United: St. Clair; Lawrence, Tapias, Boxall, Taylor; Arriaga, Dotson; Rosales; Fragapane, Hlongwane; Sang-bin

Toronto FC: Johnson; Franklin, Rosted, Hedges, Laryea; Servania, Kaye, Thompson; Insigne, Kerr, Bernardeschi

Game Notes

  • There have been 19 goals in the three meetings between Toronto FC and Minnesota United
  • Minnesota United have scored five goals at home, no team in MLS has scored fewer in 2023.

Match Details

Opponent: Minnesota United

Kickoff time: 8:30 pm ET

Watch: MLS Season Pass, TSN

Stadium: Allianz Field, Saint Paul, Minn.