MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Montreal Impact 

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, August 29 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto FC 4/5 – Draw 11/4 – Orlando City 16/5

Match Preview

Toronto host Montreal Impact on Saturday evening with both sides working hard for a playoff place in the Eastern Conference as the two go head-to-head in the latest 401 Derby clash as part of Heineken Rivalry Week in MLS.

Toronto are sitting fourth in the East on 34 points and come into the game off the back of their 5-0 thumping over Orlando City.

Greg Vanney will be pleased that his side got back on form with that impressive result after losing their previous two games. Toronto cannot afford to give away silly points, they are 12 points ahead of bottom side Chicago Fire but any side from seventh down still have a chance of making the playoffs.

Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore have been in brilliant form this season and have proved to be very difficult for opposition sides to keep out. Having netted 26 of Toronto’s 42 regular season goals between them, they will be feeling confident heading into this one against a Montreal side that has conceded 32 times this year.

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Montreal Impact’s last regular season game was their second successive defeat by a 1-0 scoreline. Frank Klopas will be disappointed with his side’s recent form as they have now failed to win in their last three games.

They are sitting in sixth place with 28 points and are more than capable of finishing in a playoff spot. Klopas will be hoping new signing Didier Drogba will impress and he could in line for his first start. The 37-year-old powerhouse’s addition should have given the squad a lift and his leadership qualities on and off the field will no doubt be a great help.

Montreal are yet to win in Toronto since they joined MLS, losing five and drawing four of the nine meetings between the sides at BMO Field. They know this weekend’s tie will be a real test.

Impact have struggled on the road this season, having won just two of their ten away games, they lost the earlier meeting in the campaign 3-1 and will be looking to finally put their winless run at BMO Field to an end.

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Team News

Toronto FC will are still without Mark Bloom, as he is out for the season. Damien Perquis and Luke Moore are both doubtful. Nick Hagglund is one booking away from suspension.

Montreal Impact have four injury concerns. Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper and Hassoun Camara are out, while Ignacio Piatti is a doubt. Laurent Ciman and Marco Donadel are both one booking away from suspension.

Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five in MLS: D/L/W/L/L

Montreal Impact’s last five in MLS: L/W/L/D/L

Key Stat: Montreal have conceded at least two goals in their last five regular season away ties.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – You cannot overlook the Italian. He has had a brilliant debut season and has caused opposition defences chaos. His 17 goals in 24 games make him the player to watch in this one and Toronto are a force when he is in this kind of form.

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Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-1 Montreal Impact – Toronto to prove just too much for the Impact and win their second game on the bounce, taking another 401 Derby win with them.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Philadelphia Union 

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, July 18 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto FC 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Philadelphia Union 12/5

Match Preview

Toronto FC play hosts to Philadelphia Union on Saturday night in game where both sides will be desperate for three points, as both are chasing a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto come into the tie the worse off of the two in terms of form as they have managed only one win in their last five outings.

However, with Sebastian Giovinco in unstoppable form, they remain a constant threat to most defences. Plus the return of Jozy Altidore will only strengthen Greg Vanney’s options.

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Toronto FC’s 2015 record in MLS: P17 – W7 – D3 – L7

Philadelphia come into the clash unbeaten in their last three in MLS, including two impressive wins over Seattle and Portland.

They have struggled away from home though, having not registered a road win since May 24 – a run of two straight losses have followed, including a heavy 5-1 defeat to LA Galaxy in their last away game in MLS.

Philadelphia Union’s 2015 record in MLS: P20 – W6 – D4 – L10

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This will be the second of three meetings between the two this season. Toronto sealed a 1-0 win in Philadelphia back in early May thanks to a Giovinco free-kick and the Reds will therefore fancy their chances again here.

Team News

Toronto FC will be without Clement Simonin through injury. Ashton Morgan, Jonathan Osorio and Michael Bradley are all away on international duty. Jozy Altidore could feature after being cut from the USMNT earlier this week.

Philadelphia Union may be missing Michael Lahoud, Fernando Aristeguieta, Eric Bird and Steven Vitoria as they remain doubts. Maurice Edu is unavailable due to suspension in what could be a pivotal absence.

Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: L/W/D/L/D

Philadelphia Union’s last five: L/L/W/D/W

Key Stat: Philadelphia have won only one of their last eleven away matches in MLS.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Italian is in sensational form as of late and we struggle to see him having anything but a huge impact on the result here. Expect him to build on last week’s hat-trick with at least another goal here.

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Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-0 Philadelphia Union – We expect Toronto to be too strong for the visiting Union here. Expect them to win comfortably and expect a better defensive display than in that 4-4 draw at New York City last weekend.

STATS: How do Defoe and Altidore compare after swap moves?

Sunderland and Toronto swapped strikers in January in a deal that saw Jermain Defoe return to the Premier League, with Jozy Altidore returning to Major League Soccer after a seven-year European adventure.

The pair have both scored goals since crossing either side of the Atlantic and although the two leagues are different in terms of quality, the players can be compared as they both play as central strikers.

Toronto have endured a mixed start to the season with just four wins from their opening ten games but Altidore is the team’s joint top scorer with five.

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He is now out with a hamstring injury but has certainly looked better than the player who only netted one Premier League goal in 42 games for the Black Cats.

Defoe helped Sunderland to escape relegation this season with his four goals after joining in January but how do the pair compare over the last year or so?

Stats (MLS & EPL since 2014)

Appearances Goals (Per 90 Mins) Assists Chances Created (Per 90 Mins) Total Shots (Per 90 Mins)

Shot Accuracy

Jermain Defoe 

36

15 (0.45) 2 35 (1.1) 92 (2.8)

58%

Jozy Altidore 

19

5 (0.47) 0 12 (1.1) 23 (2.1)

72%

Comparing Defoe’s stats from his time with Toronto and Sunderland since March 2014 with Altidore’s from August 2014 at the start of the latest Premier League season, we can see the pair are closely matched.

Defoe has played significantly more games than Altidore, scoring ten more goals but the USMNT forward is averaging more goals per 90 minutes than the Englishman.

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Altidore also boasts better shooting accuracy than Defoe, though the former Spurs man has two assists compared to the 25-year-old American and has also recorded more shots per 90 minutes.

Both have created just over one chance per 90 minutes and their statistics are very similar.

Toronto probably got the better deal out of the trade as they acquired allocation money as well as the player, and Altidore is seven years younger.

But Defoe has clearly been more valuable to Sunderland, scoring three more league goals than Altidore managed in 25 more appearances already.

Who is the better striker – Jozy Altidore or Jermain Defoe?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto vs Portland Timbers

Competition: Major League Soccer – Toronto FC vs. Portland Timbers

Venue: BMO Field – Saturday, May 23 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports 3)

Match Odds: Toronto 13/10 – Draw 12/5 – Portland 2/1

Match Preview

Toronto FC host the Portland Timbers this weekend in a fixture that usually produces plenty of goals. The Timbers will end their three-game away streak in this tie before heading back to Providence Park next weekend.

Toronto are coming off a hard fought draw away at Gillette Stadium last weekend, taking a point from MLS Cup runners-up New England Revolution in a 1-1 draw. Michael Bradley scored his first goal of the season in that game and will look to build on that on Saturday.

The Reds will be rocked by the news that Jozy Altidore is out for 4-5 weeks with a hamstring injury, as their leading goalscorer was injured and subbed off in the 18th minute last weekend and will definitely miss the upcoming USA games.

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They have acquired ten points so far this season, a number not to be sniggered at, with eight games played away from home so far this season due to work being done on BMO Field. The home loss to Houston Dynamo was demoralising and didn’t do any favours for head coach Greg Vanney and he will be hoping for a positive result from Saturday’s match.

Vanney is still under pressure to deliver results and a win here could ease some of that pressure as back-to-back home games are on the horizon for Toronto, and that could see them deliver maximum points and bring some confidence back into the side.

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The Timbers have been rather underwhelming so far this season with three wins, four draws and four losses so far. They sit ninth in the Western Conference and their stop-start campaign is what could hamper their chances of finishing in the playoff spots come the end of season.

The acquisition of MLS veteran Nat Borchers from Real Salt Lake has seen the experienced defender become an important part of the defence and also the attack. He is the Portland Timbers’ second-highest goalscorer so far this season with two goals and has a good partnership with Liam Ridgewell at the back.

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Fanendo Adi is the leading goalscorer as he has four of the team’s ten so far. The Nigerian needs to keep up that momentum and lead his team into Western Conference playoff places now, as the Timbers are only three points off tenth place in the Western, but also three points off sixth.

Portland are sitting 12th in the form table and something needs to change quickly. This is an away fixture Portland haven’t enjoyed in the past as they have failed to win on their previous three visits to Toronto.

Last season, the two sides played out a classic, resulting in a 3-2 victory for Toronto FC back in September.

Team News

As mentioned for Toronto, Jozy Altidore will miss the game with a hamstring strain. Clement Simonin will miss out after surgery on his knee, while there are doubts over Steven Caldwell, Robbie Findley (both achilles) and goalkeeper Joe Bendik (foot).

Portland Timbers will still be without Will Johnson, who is recovering from his broken leg, while Michael Nanchoff (hernia) and Ben Zemanski (torn ACL) are both still out too.

Key Points

Toronto’s last five: L/W/W/L/D

Portland Timbers’ last five: W/L/D/W/L

Key Stat: There have been 19 goals in the last five meetings between these two.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – Although fellow new signing Jozy Altidore is out for the foreseeable future, Giovinco has four goals himself and will look to penetrate the leaky Portland defence that have conceded twelve so far this season.

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Score Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 Portland Timbers – This fixture often sees goals and this one will be no different as a new look attack for Toronto could see more chances for goals. Portland Timbers have Diego Valeri back, while Fanendo Adi is pushing to add to his tally. It could be goals, goals, goals in this one.

How much will Toronto miss Jozy Altidore?

Toronto FC are going to be without powerhouse Jozy Altidore for an expected 4-5 weeks. The big-man has given a good account of himself since returning to MLS, scoring five goals in eight games.

Altidore was substituted during the game against New England Revolution after straining his hamstring and Toronto now face the possibility of five games without their target man.

Games Altidore could miss: 

– Toronto vs Portland, May 23

– Toronto vs San Jose Earthquakes, May 30

– DC United vs Toronto, June 6 

– Toronto vs New York City, June 20

The US Men’s National Team will also be concerned about Altidore’s injury with the Gold Cup just a couple of months away.

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Toronto have scored 13 times so far this season, which means Altidore has contributed for more than one third of their goals.

Stats via Squawka Apps Goals Assists Pass Accuracy Chances Created Shot Accuracy Shots Conversion rate
Altidore 8 5 0 77% 9 78% 16 31%

Statistically Jozy Altidore has the fourth best conversion rate for players who have scored five or more goals so far this season.

Don’t miss – STATS: Who is the most prolific striker in MLS? 

Based on the stats Altidore is going to be a big miss and Toronto will be hoping he won’t be out any longer than anticipated.

How much will Toronto miss the prolific frontman?

STATS: Who is the most prolific striker in MLS?

With the 2015 MLS season well underway, it’s a great time to look at the top goalscorers in the league and just how prolific they really are.

Using statistics from Squawka, we take a look at the strikers who have scored five or more goals so far this term, and how their conversion rates compare:

Striker Goals Scored Total Shots Conversion Rate (%)
Clint Dempsey 7 18 39
Kei Kamara 7 43 16
Obafemi Martins 6 16 38
Octavio Rivero 6 43 14
Chris Wondolowski 6 34 18
Giles Barnes 6 38 16
Bradley Wright-Phillips 5 31 16
Jozy Altidore 5 16 31
Blas Perez 5 13 38

According to the statistics above, Clint Dempsey is the most prolific striker out of the pack as he has a conversion rate 39%.

There is a clear advantage with the Seattle Sounders going forward as both their forwards register conversion rates over 35% – further proof that Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey are an incredible strike force.

However, notice must be taken of how prolific Blas Perez has been for FC Dallas (38% conversion rate) as has Jozy Altidore on his return to MLS (31% conversion rate).

Who do you think has been the best striker in MLS this season?

MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs. Toronto FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. Toronto FC

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, May 16th – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: New England 4/5 – Draw 13/5 – Toronto 100/30

Match Preview

New England Revolution entertain Toronto FC in an exciting looking Eastern Conference clash at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.

The Revs are the form side in MLS right now as they are unbeaten in eight and have picked up three wins from their last four games.

That eight-game unbeaten run is the club’s best for ten years, since they went 12 games undefeated at the back end of the 2004 season and start of 2005.

A slow start to the campaign this year saw them lose their opening two without scoring a goal but they look to be on track now and are playing like a team ready to get back to the MLS Cup final.

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They will expect to beat Toronto on Saturday night as the Reds have struggled to find any sort of consistency yet.

Their two-game win streak came to end in their first home game of the season last Sunday as the Houston Dynamo won 2-1.

Head coach Greg Vanney knows he must get his side playing better football and despite beating Montreal Impact 3-2 on Wednesday night in the Canadian Championship, they exited that competition on away goals.

Toronto fans will hope that game doesn’t leave the players tired for Saturday’s match and they will be hoping for a fourth win of the season to move within six points of the Revs in the Eastern Conference.

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Both sides have some fine attacking talents as Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore of Toronto will have to try and outperform the likes of Lee Nguyen, Juan Agudelo and Charlie Davies. Davies has four in his last four and is looking dangerous.

New England won all three meetings between the sides last year, including the final game of the regular season as they sealed a 1-0 win at Gillette Stadium.

Team News

New England head coach Jay Heaps will still be without defender Darrius Barnes for another five months, while Daigo Kobayashi is still a doubt and is unlikely to feature. Andy Dorman is one booking away from suspension and needs to stay disciplined. Jermaine Jones could start in defence again, with Dorman and Caldwell in midfield.

Toronto have four players to worry about. Clement Simonin, Steven Caldwell and Joe Bendik are all definitely out, while Mark Bloom remains a doubt. Chris Konopka will start in goal again but Greg Vanney may make a few changes to try and prevent fatigue from the midweek game setting in.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s last five: D/W/W/W/D

Toronto FC’s last five: L/L/W/W/L

Key Stat: New England have not lost at home in their last 15 MLS matches, and have won their last two games in front of their own fans, scoring six times and conceding just one.

Key Player: Charlie Davies – Form is everything for a striker and Charlie Davies has certainly discovered his with four in his last four. He will hope to extend that streak to five against the third-worst defence in the Eastern.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 3-1 Toronto FC – Tough to see Toronto getting anything out of this one against a Revs side that are oozing confidence right now. This game should have plenty of goals but New England will stay unbeaten with a third straight home win to pile more misery on the Reds.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Philadelphia Union vs Toronto FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC

Venue: PPL Park – Saturday, May 2nd – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports)

Match Odds: Philadelphia 5/4 – Draw 12/5 – Toronto 21/10

Match Preview

Philadelphia Union host Toronto FC on Saturday night in an intriguing Eastern Conference clash with both sides looking to climb the table after slow starts.

The Union have only won once this season, in a 2-1 home victory against New York City FC, and come into Saturday’s game off back-to-back defeats.

Jim Curtin’s side were thumped 4-1 at Columbus Crew last Saturday and need to try and find some form to prevent them from falling too far behind the pack in the hunt for playoff football.

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They’re level with Saturday’s opponents, Toronto, on six points after eight weeks and both will see this as a winnable game.

The Reds picked up just their second win of the season at Orlando City last weekend to end a four-game losing streak and the trip to PPL Park will be the last of their seven-game away run to open the campaign.

They will play at BMO Field for the first time this season next week but need to focus on this game first against a Philadelphia team that has the worst defensive record in MLS.

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Toronto have attacking stars such as Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco to unleash on that leaky Union defence that has conceded 17 times in nine games, and that will be a concern for Philadelphia supporters.

One thing to note is that Toronto have never won at PPL Park in MLS. The Union have won the last three meetings, including both last season, without conceding a goal.

Team News

Philadelphia could be without five players. Eric Bird (hernia) remains out, while Antoine Hoppenot (hamstring), Fernando Aristeguieta (thigh), Vincent Nogueira (ankle) and Steven Vitoria (groin) are all doubtful. Maurice Edu is likely to start in defence again but he will need to be careful as he is one booking away from suspension.

Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney will be without Clement Simonin (knee), while Steven Caldwell (achilles) and Mark Bloom (thigh) remain doubts. Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco are starting to gel together and both will start in attack again for the Reds on Saturday night.

Key Points

Philadelphia Union’s last five: L/W/D/L/L

Toronto FC’s last five: L/L/L/L/W

Key Stat: Toronto have not beaten Philadelphia in their last seven meetings, losing the last three on the bounce without scoring a goal.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Italian playmaker is starting to look like the superstar Toronto hoped they had signed. He has three goals and three assists in six appearances so far and will be a real threat for the Union to deal with.

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Score Prediction

Philadelphia Union 1-3 Toronto FC – Toronto to snap that seven-game winless run against the Union with a convincing performance and victory. Philadelphia have looked extremely vulnerable this season and their defensive frailties will be exploited by a dangerous Reds attack.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Toronto FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City SC vs. Toronto FC

Venue: Orlando Citrus Bowl – Sunday April 26th – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Orlando 6/5 – Draw 5/2 – Toronto 9/4

Match Preview

Orlando City host Toronto FC on Sunday night in a key Eastern Conference clash with the Lions still looking for their first home win as an MLS franchise.

Head coach Adrian Heath has spoken of how important that first victory will be for the supporters that have turned out in their thousands for the previous three fixtures at the Citrus Bowl.

Orlando return home for the first time in three weeks after back-to-back road games in which they have experienced mixed emotions. A 2-0 win at Portland was followed up by a first ever away loss to the Columbus Crew as they were beaten 3-0 after playing most of the game with ten men.

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They will hope to seal an important first win in front of their own fans against a Toronto side that have struggled so far this season.

The Reds started with a 3-1 win against the Vancouver Whitecaps but have lost four in a row since and Sunday’s trip to Florida will be the Canadian club’s sixth straight road game.

Toronto will have to wait another two weeks before they can play at home but they will know that it’s important they stop the rot by getting a result in Orlando this weekend.

Head coach Greg Vanney is under pressure, with some reports suggesting a loss on Sunday will cost him his job, but the Reds have been scoring plenty of goals.

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They have eight in five games so far, with Sebastian Giovinco netting two of those last week in a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas, and supporters will hope the Italian star can build on that display with another goal or two.

Giovinco will look to try and outperform Orlando’s very own foreign star in Kaka, and watching those two play on the same pitch should ensure this is a good one.

Team News

Orlando City will be without Tally Hall, Pedro Ribeiro and Martin Paterson, who are all still injured, while Lewis Neal and Tony Cascio are both doubts for the game. Rafael Ramos will also miss out as he serves a one game suspension after a red card in Columbus last weekend. Cyle Larin is likely to start in attack again with Kevin Molino and Carlos Rivas on the wings. Amobi Okugo is one booking off a suspension and will need to be careful.

Toronto FC have three injury concerns ahead of the trip as Clement Simonin, Steven Caldwell and Mark Bloom will all miss out. Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco are likely to start in attack, with Michael Bradley and Colleen Warner set to start in the centre of midfield.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: L/D/L/W/L

Toronto FC’s last five: W/L/L/L/L

Key Stat: Toronto have conceded at least two goals in their last four away games. They have questions to answer defensively and need to shore up a backline that has conceded more goals on average per game than any other team so far.

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Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – ‘The Atomic Ant’ scored two excellent goals last weekend that showed how good a player he is. He needs to build on those strikes with another great performance in Orlando if his side are to get anything out of the game.

Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-2 Toronto FC – This looks set to be a real thriller between two sides that love to attack, without being too good defensively. That should lead to an open game and goals are to be expected. Neither side will want to lose this one though and that could see a draw.

Podcast: Toronto, NYCFC, Aston Villa & Chelsea vs. Manchester United discussed

The MLSGB Podcast returns after a short break as Zack Walford sits down with Louis East and Jamie Ives to talk MLS and Premier League.

Our MLS topics of discussion this week involved Toronto FC and New York City FC after their slow starts to the season.

While we look at Aston Villa and their rise under Tim Sherwood as well as looking back over Chelsea vs. Manchester United and what’s next for them.

As always, get in touch on Twitter: @MLSGB_ with your thoughts on comment below.