Live Thread

FT – Toronto FC 2-3 FC Cincinnati.

90′ – Seven minutes of stoppage time are added.

86′ – Substitute attacker Dominque Badji thinks he added an insurance goal for his side, but he was ruled to be offside.

77′ – Terry Dunfield utilises his remaining substitutions: Hugo Mbongue, Themi Antonoglou and Michael Bradley make way for Prince Owusu, Cristian Gutiérrez and Victor Vázquez.

72′ GOAL FC CINCINNATI. Boupendza’s shot curls away from Gavran and into the net.

71′ – Gavran denies Obinna Nwobodo’s half volley.

68′ – TFC substitution: Franco Ibarra enters the match for Alonso Coello.

68′ – Marshall-Rutty wins a corner for Toronto

64′ – Gavran gets down low to save Vazquez’s shot from in close, preventing him of his hat-trick.

60′ – Out of an abundance of caution, Blessing is substituted using the team’s allotted concussion substitution. Jahkeele-Marshall Rutty replaces the Ghanian winger.

54′ – Matt Miazga and Blessing collide in midfield, Blessing’s head looks like it was hit by Miazga’s thigh or knee – both players are now up.

50′ – Gavran is called into action yet again. He saves a shot from Acosta but Mabika gets in the way and the ball deflects off of him and into the keeper’s path for him to claim again.

46′ – Blessing wins a corner within the first 30 seconds of the second half.

HT – Toronto FC 2-2 FC Cincinnati.

45′ +1 – Luka Gavran comes up with a big save to deny Santiago Arias’ powerful strike.

44′ GOAL TORONTO FC! It’s Osorio’s turn to score a brace! He heads the ball home after Celentano couldn’t convincingly clear the ball away from his area.

39′ GOAL TORONTO FC! Almost a carbon copy of Cincy’s second goal, Jonathan Osorio pounced on the mistake from Celentano after he partially saved Bernardeschi’s shot.

35′ GOAL FC CINCINNATI. Vazquez makes it a brace for himself. He reacted quickest to the rebound opportunity which was created from a Gavran save.

28′ GOAL FC CINCINNATI. Brandon Vazquez chests down the ball to control it before letting a shot rip from inside the six-yard box, which left Gavran rooted to the spot.

27′ – Aaron Boupendza’s weaving run through Toronto’s half culminates in a shot which is blocked by defender Aimé Mabika.

21′ – A curling left-footed shot from Bernardeschi is parried away by Celentano.

18′ – TFC come very close to conceding the game’s first goal. A cross from the left flank rolled across the face of goal with everyone watching the ball and no one attacking it.

17′ – The visitors win another corner.

13′ – Cincinnati earns a corner after defender Sigurd Rosted headed the ball away from danger.

11′ – So close from Larin Blessing! The Ghanian winger attempts a scissor kick which hits the top corner of the post. Cincy ‘keeper Roman Celentano was stretching to try and get a hand on the shot.

9′ – TFC Substitution: Deandre Kerr exits the match with what appears to be a mix of an ankle and lower back injury. Hugo Mbongue takes his spot at striker.

8′ – Luka Gavran records his first save of the night – holding onto a header from striker Brandon Vazquez.

7′ – Kerr is currently receiving attention from the medical staff after taking a simultaneous knock to his lower back and ankle.

6′ – Deandre Kerr wins a free kick while trying to receive a pass.

4′ – Winger Latif Blessing thought he did enough to earn a foul in his own half, but nothing was given.

1′ – Referee Alex Chilowicz blows the whistle to get the match started.

7 pm ET – Don’t forget to submit your scoreline guesses in this week’s edition of our prediction league!

6:30 pm ET – Toronto FC can play spoiler tonight against FC Cincinnati who are first place in MLS this season – Cincy can clinch the Supporters’ Shield with a victory tonight by the lakeshore.

Starting XIs

Latif Blessing returns to action for the Reds, while Themi Antonoglou starts his second match this season in place of injured left-back Raoul Petretta. Michael Bradley anchors the centre of defense again.

Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan starts his tried and true front three with captain Lucho Acosta in attacking midfield, and strikers Brandon Vazquez and Aaron Boupendza up top. Former TFC defender Nick Hagglund is on the bench for his hometown club.

Match Preview, by Adam Palermo

Another difficult season will soon come to a close for the Reds, as will life under interim head coach Terry Dunfield.

The inevitable playoff elimination for Toronto FC finally came this past weekend off the back of a lifeless loss to New York City FC.

Winless in all but one of his 12 games in charge since taking over for Bob Bradley in June, Dunfield will hope to somehow inspire his squad in a tough matchup at home against league-leading FC Cincinnati on Saturday night before making way for John Herdman on the touchline.

After a surprising 3-1 win at BMO Field over Philadelphia Union before the international break earlier this month, it’s since been more of what fans have come to expect from TFC in 2023. The Reds have lost their last three matches, shipping nine goals and scoring just once during that time. With a home date against Luciano Acosta and FC Cincinnati looming, it’s difficult to envision things changing for the better in the TFC camp this weekend.

Toronto and Cincinnati are currently polar opposites in the MLS standings. A Cincy win in Toronto would take Pat Noonan’s side to 65 points and would leave them one shy of having triple the total points of TFC, who have so far collected just 22 points through 30 games.

To date, 2012 was the worst season in franchise history for the Reds in a 34-game season. They collected 23 points that year and need just one more to avoid matching that tally. In contrast, Cincinnati can write their own history if they are able to round out the season with their foot firmly on the gas. The single-season points record of 73 remains within reach if they are able to win their four remaining fixtures, starting with Toronto FC.

Hoping to spoil the party on Saturday will be a TFC side coming off a week’s rest after falling short of the mark in their last outing. Lorenzo Insigne was not part of the TFC team that was pulled apart by NYCFC on Sunday, and his status for the next contest remains in doubt. TFC Republic’s John Molinaro reported that the Italian winger was not in training on Thursday, although he was back in individual training on Friday.

Striker C.J. Sapong was the beneficiary of Insigne’s absence as he started up top alongside the in-form Deandre Kerr in the losing effort. Sapong may get the nod again from Dunfield, unless the club wants to hand some starts to younger players, with the playoffs now officially out of reach. The likes of Themi Antonoglou, Jahkeele Marhsall-Rutty, and Hugo Mbongue could see an uptick in playing time down the stretch if Dunfield, and then Herdman, opt to go in such a direction.

Midfielder Brandon Servania was another missing link in the NYCFC loss, with club captain Michael Bradley returning to his usual midfield role after deputizing at centre-half since returning from injury. It was Shane O’Neill who replaced Bradley in the backline, but not to good effect. O’Neill and Sigurd Rosted were left exposed against Talles Magno and Co. With no real answer at centre-back, it looks as though the position will once again have to be addressed in the offseason.

Between the sticks, Luka Gavran got his first MLS appearance last weekend and was one of the lone positives from a TFC perspective. The Hamilton native denied Monsef Bakrar a goal from the penalty and had five saves on the day, keeping the match to a respectable scoreline when the margin of defeat could’ve been greater. After a noteworthy debut expect to see him hold down his spot over Tomás Romero.

TFC’s next opponent come into the match feeling good about themselves after a 3-0 victory over Charlotte FC secured Champions Cup soccer in Cincinnati for 2024. With a playoff spot clinched since August 30, Cincy are now aiming to lock down their Supporters’ Shield credentials. They can do so by winning at BMO Field, but can also guarantee their first piece of MLS silverware if they fail to get all three points but other results around the league go their way.

Cincinnati’s Argentine midfielder Luciano Acosta has been one of, if not the best player in MLS this season and the electrifying playmaker has a track record of lighting up TFC. Currently on 15 league goals and tied with Giorgos Giakoumakis and Hany Mukhtar atop the Golden Boot ladder, Acosta has produced a finish in each of the four past meetings between FCC and TFC, dating back to September 2021. The MVP contender will no doubt be looking to trouble an unsure Toronto defence.

After coming out on top in their first three encounters, TFC have recorded just one win against Cincinnati in the ensuing six battles and have lost the last three. Cincy eased by Toronto in the reverse fixture back in late June by a 3-0 scoreline and won 2-1 during their last trek up north to BMO Field.

Match Details

Opponent: FC Cincinnati
Kick-off: 7:30 p.m. ET
Stadium: BMO Field, Toronto, ON
Watch: MLS Season Pass