Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire

BMO Field – Saturday, April 28 2018 – 15:00 ET (20:00 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football (via Red Button)

Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire: Preview

Toronto FC return to MLS action against Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon after their heartbreaking penalty defeat to Chivas in the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League Final on Wednesday. Gregg Vanney’s men fought incredible well but ultimately came up short. The competition has taken a lot out of the team, so Chicago will fancy their chances of picking up points.

Mexican sides continue to dominate the CCL, with Chivas lifting the trophy at Toronto’s expense this time around. The reigning MLS Cup champions can hold their heads high for their performances in the competition, but ultimately they returned empty handed.

The challenge will now be to ignite their MLS campaign, after losing four of their opening five games. Those losses have come as a result of focusing on the CCL games, but Toronto sit rock bottom in the Eastern Conference as a result. All four losses have also come directly after CCL fixtures, so fatigue will be a major concern for the home side here.

Chicago Fire arrive in high spirits after picking up a surprise 2-1 win at New York Red Bulls last weekend. Chicago goalkeeper Richard Sanchez came up big, making nine saves to help his side to three big road points. The Fire have picked up seven points from six games but know they are capable of better.

The worry for the visiting side is they’ve lost six consecutive MLS games against Toronto, stretching back three years. Saturday’s game does, however, represent an excellent chance to capitalise on a beaten Toronto side, who are expected to have key players missing.

This will be the 27th MLS meeting between the Eastern Conference sides. They have each won nine of the previous 26 games, with eight matches ending level. Toronto won both games 3-1 last season.

Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire: Team News

Toronto FC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Victor Vazquez (back spasms), Chris Mavinga (abdominal discomfort), Gregory van der Wiel (Achilles), Jozy Altidore (foot), Justin Morrow (calf strain), Drew Moor (undisclosed).

🚑 Out: Nick Hagglund (hamstring).

Chicago Fire

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Jorge Corrales (infection), Michael de Leeuw (left ACL), Djorjde Mihailovic (right ACL), Matt Polster (right MCL), Luis Solignac (left quad).

Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire: Key Stats

Toronto FC’s MLS form: L/L/W/L/L

Chicago Fire’s MLS form: L/D/W/L/W

Key stat: Toronto FC have lost all four of their MLS games directly after playing in the CONCACAF Champions League this season, getting outscored 10-1 in those games.

Toronto FC vs Chicago Fire: Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 Chicago Fire: There are usually goals when these two sides meet. Both sides have scored in nine of their last 10 MLS meetings and that should be the case again here. Toronto need to rally after their midweek CCL loss but they will be drained mentally and physically. Chicago will be looking to replicate their game plan that worked so well at Red Bull Arena last weekend. They will sit deep and look to hit the hosts on the counter. Score draw.

Advertisements

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC

Olympic Stadium – Saturday, March 17 2018 – 15:00 ET (19:00 GMT)

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Preview

It’s taken just three weeks for the first 401 Derby of the season to take place as Montreal Impact and Toronto FC go head-to-head at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal. The Impact will be looking forward to playing in front of their own fans for the first time this season but know Toronto arrive in incredibly high spirits.

The Impact have opened their season with back-to-back road losses, but have managed to score three goals. They fell 2-1 at Vancouver on opening weekend and were perhaps unlucky to lose 3-2 at Columbus last week. Gyasi Zardes netted a penalty in the 94th minute after Montreal had come from 2-0 down at halftime.

Photo Credit: Hazel May

Remi Garde’s men need to shore up their defence but it’s unclear if the arrival of Rod Fanni will help in that regard. The Impact need to impress on their home opener and will be desperate to get at least one point on the board.

Toronto FC travel to their Canadian rivals after their incredible CONCACAF Champions League win over Tigres on Tuesday night. The reigning MLS Cup champs advanced to the semifinals with a 4-4 away goals aggregate win, and now have a few weeks to prepare for their clash with Club America.

Their priority now needs to be getting their MLS season up and running. They haven’t played since opening weekend, when they fell 2-0 to Columbus in one of the surprise results of the season so far.

Montreal will hope to capitalise on any fatigue that may be on show but both sides will be looking to attack in what should be an entertaining battle. They both come into the game as the bottom two sides in the East, so they will be going for the win at this very early stage of the campaign.

The rivals met five times last season. Toronto beat Montreal over two legs in the Canadian Championship Final before they went head-to-head three time in MLS over the final two months of the season. The Reds won at Montreal 3-1 before the Impact got revenge with a crazy 5-3 win at BMO Field. Toronto then made amends with a 1-0 win at home on the final day of the regular season.

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Team News

Montreal Impact

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Zakaria Diallo (ruptured achilles), Kyle Fisher (leg), Anthony Jackson-Hamel (hamstring).

Toronto FC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Justin Morrow (leg), Chris Mavinga (leg).

🚑 Out: None.

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Key Stats

Montreal Impact’s MLS form: L/L

Toronto FC’s MLS form: L

Key stat: There have been 30 goals in the last six MLS clashes between these two sides (including playoffs) – an average of five per game.

Montreal Impact vs Toronto FC: Prediction

Montreal Impact 2-2 Toronto FC: It’s a tough game to call, as Toronto are expected to make some changes to the team that advanced past Tigres on Tuesday. Montreal will be ready to take advantage but the Reds still have strength in depth. Goals are expected but this one might just end in a high-scoring draw.

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew 

BMO Field – Saturday, March 3rd 2018 – 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT)

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Preview

MLS is back. It’s been 12 weeks since Toronto FC beat Seattle to be crowned 2017 MLS Cup Champions at BMO Field and the new season will begin on the same turf. The reigning champs will open the 2018 season against the Columbus Crew. It was Toronto who ended the Crew’s season last time out, but they will kick it off on Saturday afternoon. The standings are reset and 23 teams have fresh hopes of glory as we enter what should be an incredible 2018 campaign.

There have been several MLS Cup winners of past who have seen their squads weaken over the course of the following offseason. But that’s not been the case in Toronto. If anything, the Reds have strengthened. Signings like Auro, Gregory van der Wiel and Ager Aketxe should ensure Toronto remain as strong, if not stronger as they were last year.

Greg Vanney’s men come into the game off the back of their CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 win over the Colorado Rapids. That two-legged tie will have injected some early match fitness into the Toronto legs, but they will also now have one eye on next Wednesday’s quarterfinal clash with Tigres.

That could well play into Columbus’ hands. Yes, they are facing the reigning champions on their own soil. Yes, Columbus have a lot of new faces who need time to adapt. But the Crew will be out for revenge and are facing a Toronto side who will undoubtedly have one eye on the Tigres clash.

Gregg Berhalter has had a tough offseason. The ongoing doubts about the team’s possible relocation to Austin still linger, while key players such as Ola Kamara and Justin Meram have departed to league rivals. Replacements such as Gyasi Zardes and Mike Grella have come in but it might take Columbus a few games to get used to their new-look attack.

These two met in last season’s Eastern Conference Final, with Toronto advancing to MLS Cup after a narrow 1-0 aggregate win. Columbus did beat Toronto 2-1 in the first of their three regular season clashes but they haven’t won at BMO Field since 2015.

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Team News

Toronto FC

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: None

(Take a look at all Toronto FC’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

Columbus Crew

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: None

(Take a look at all Columbus Crew’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Key Stats

Toronto FC’s MLS form: N/A

Columbus Crew’s MLS form: N/A

Key stat: Columbus Crew have failed to score in their last four trips to BMO Field, losing their last three trips on the spin. However, last time they did find the net away at Toronto, they went on to win the game 2-0, back in October 2015.

Toronto FC vs Columbus Crew: Prediction

Toronto FC 2-0 Columbus Crew: It might be a new season but the same is expected from Toronto as they look to start the new campaign by once again proving their dominance in MLS. The Reds were simply unstoppable last season, particularly at home and it will take something special for the Crew to leave with anything on opening day. Toronto are rightly favourites and it’s difficult to look past them.

2018 Key Transfers: Toronto FC

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Toronto FC and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

The MLS Cup holders have got a lot to live up to. They head into the 2018 campaign on the back of an historic treble in 2017. Greg Vanney’s side really raised the bar last season and repeating that feat again this time around is going to take a huge amount of work. There have been some exciting new players come in, while Toronto have done well to keep the core of their squad together. With little improvement needed on the face of it, this has been a winter transfer window where the aim has been to keep the squad fresh and ensure there is enough depth to challenge on all fronts once again…

Key Signings

Gregory van der Wiel: Toronto have identified where they wanted to improve on their squad depth. They’ve certainly picked up a quality defender in Gregory van der Wiel. The Dutch fullback is a winner. He has league titles with European giants Paris Saint Germain and Ajax to his name. He was also in the Dutch side that came runners up in the 2010 World Cup. This is certainly an exciting signing for Toronto and further proof they are looking to dominate.

Ager Aketxe: This is a big statement from Toronto and for MLS. Ager Aketxe might not be a household name in European football but he has made the switch from La Liga at 24. He started his career with Athletic Bilbao and spent last season on loan at Cadiz. As a creative midfielder who is known for his ability to finish, Aketxe has the potential to be a real asset to Toronto.

Auro: Another defensive addition to Toronto’s ranks. Auro comes in on loan with the option to buy from Brazilian side Sao Paulo. He has represented Brazil at U17 and U20 level. He is a good option for Toronto due to his versatility of being to play on either the left or the right.

Notable Departures

Benoit Cheyrou: The experienced Cheyrou has called time on his playing days at 36, but his story with Toronto hasn’t ended. He is now working with the TFC academy, which is a huge bonus for the future stars of MLS. Keeping him at the club in some capacity is a good move by Toronto, given he was part of their rise to the top. His career saw him play at the top level in European football and while he is going to be a miss in the dressing room as well as on the field, he will still be a part of the setup for what looks like years to come.

Steven Beitashour: Toronto moved quickly in the winter window to ensure they had cover for their departing players. Beitashour featured 22 times last season for TFC and played in 51 games across his two seasons with the side. A solid fullback who pitched in with supply from the righthand side who will no doubt be a miss. He has moved to expansion side LAFC, who have picked up a good signing.

Toronto gets revenge over Sounders to complete historic treble – Exclusive photos from the 2017 MLS Cup Final

For the first time in MLS history, a Canadian side has won the MLS Cup. Toronto FC claimed the 2017 MLS Cup Final with a 2-0 win over Seattle Sounders on Saturday night, completing a historic treble after an almost faultless year. They have been the best team by a margin this year and have now been rewarded with their first MLS Cup title.

They dominated the game from start to finish but could not get past Stefan Frei, as the game started to feel like a repeat of the 2016 Final in which Seattle stunned the hosts on penalties.

But after 66 minutes, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore took the game by the scruff of the neck and broke Seattle’s resolve. Giovinco’s pass put Altidore through and the powerful striker coolly finished past the once again excellent Frei.

The goal woke the Sounders up but not enough as Toronto withstood the late pressure and then sealed the win with a stoppage time tap-in from Victor Vazquez. That goal sent BMO Field into raptures as they knew a decade’s worth of pain was over. They’d got revenge. They’d won the title. And they have probably earned the tag as the ‘greatest MLS side of all time’.

Check out exclusive photos from the 2017 MLS Cup Final below, courtesy of Jil Hendershot.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2017 MLS Cup Final Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Seattle Sounders

2017 MLS Cup Final: Toronto FC vs Seattle Sounders

BMO Field – Saturday, December 9 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto 4/5 – Draw 23/10 – Seattle 7/2

2017 MLS Cup Final – Toronto FC vs Seattle Sounders: Preview

Here we go again! Toronto FC vs Seattle Sounders. It’s the same MLS Cup Final matchup for the second-straight season. And just like last year, the two sides will battle it out at Toronto’s BMO Field to be crowned 2017 Major League Soccer champion.

For the past two seasons, Toronto and Seattle have been the league’s best two sides. So it makes sense that both have made back-to-back MLS Cup Finals. For Seattle, it’s about defending their cup. For Toronto, it’s about revenge.

Seattle Sounders celebrate winning the 2016 MLS Cup Final in Toronto. (Photo: Denise McCooey)

This will be just the third MLS Cup rematch in league history. The previous two occasions saw the same side win both finals – Houston Dynamo over New England in 2006 & 2007 and LA Galaxy over Houston Dynamo in 2011 & 2012. But the Seattle Sounders come into Saturday’s final as underdogs once again.

Toronto have had one of, if not the greatest, MLS seasons ever. They convincingly ran away with the Supporters’ Shield. They won the Canadian Championship. Now they just need to go one better than they did last year to become the first side to win a treble, which would surely guarantee the Toronto 2017 team’s status as ‘the greatest MLS side ever’.

They’ve not had an easy playoff route to this year’s showpiece event though. They narrowly edged past the Red Bulls on the away goals rule before beating Columbus 1-0 on aggregate after a nervy two-legged Eastern Conference Final.

But what matters more than anything for the hosts is that they have the chance to put last year’s miserable penalty shootout lost right. They wouldn’t have wanted any other MLS Cup opponent than the Sounders. Form tends to go out the window in these games so it’s all about Toronto handling the occasion.

The Seattle Sounders didn’t have the most impressive of regular season campaigns but did come good when it mattered most once again: Down the stretch. They’ve kept momentum going – just as they did last year – and have been exceptional in the playoffs.

A 2-0 aggregate win over Vancouver was followed up by a 5-0 aggregate win over Houston to claim the Western Conference Championship for the second successive year. They have added well to the squad that won last year’s final. The likes of Will Bruin and Victor Rodriguez will be looking to continue their impressive form in Saturday’s showdown.

But it’s the return of Clint Dempsey that’s making all the headlines. The US soccer legend was ruled out of last year’s run to glory with a heart problem that was eventually cleared. Now he’s back and hungry to be a part of his team’s success.

Toronto FC have their own weapons. Like last year, the focus will be on Designated Players Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley. But Victor Vazquez has been incredibly good in his debut campaign and will look to provide the spark that was missing in last year’s final.

These two sides have only met once since last year’s showpiece event. That came back in May as Toronto ran out 1-0 winners at CenturyLink Field, courtesy of an early Altidore penalty. But Toronto haven’t recorded a home win over the Sounders for over seven years, with their last victory coming back in April 2010.

2017 MLS Cup Final – Toronto FC vs Seattle Sounders: Team News

Toronto FC’s only injury concern ahead of Saturday’s final is Jozy Altidore. The striker was hurt in the second-half of the Conference Final win over Columbus but fought on to score the decisive goal. He won’t let an ankle problem keep him out of a game like this either.

Seattle Sounders will definitely be without Brad Evans as the defender is still sidelined with that back problem. Osvaldo Alonso has also been ruled out just a couple of days before the final in what is a blow for the defending champions. However, they’ve coped well without him over the past three months and will hope to continue.

2017 MLS Cup Final – Toronto FC vs Seattle Sounders: Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: D/W/L/D/W

Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/D/W/W/W

Key Stat: Shutout – The Sounders have kept up their reputation of being almost impossible to breakdown in playoff football. They’ve kept four-straight clean sheets in this year’s playoffs and haven’t conceded in the postseason in six consecutive games, including last year’s final win at Toronto.

Key Player: Victor Vazquez – Toronto’s Spanish playmaker has enjoyed a fine debut season in MLS and he could be the man to prove the difference. He wasn’t a part of last year’s final but likes to play between the lines and could exploit the Sounders defence, who will have Altidore and Giovinco to contend with. In a game that’s expected to be tight, Vazquez could be the man to make the difference.

2017 MLS Cup Final – Toronto FC vs Seattle Sounders: Prediction

Toronto FC 1-1* Seattle Sounders – This is surely going to be one of the most intriguing finals in recent years, not least because it’s a rematch in which the defending champions remain underdogs. Toronto are expected to win, but it was the same case last season. The Sounders enjoy playing with house money, so to speak, and will be looking forward to trying to cause another major upset and defend their title. Goals will surely be on offer this time, but don’t be surprised to see this one go beyond the 90 minutes again. And if it does, it’s hard to look past the Sounders…

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls

Major League Soccer: Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls

BMO Field – Saturday, September 30 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto 1/2 – Draw 16/5 – NY Red Bulls 9/2

Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls: Preview

Toronto FC welcome the New York Red Bulls to BMO Field on Saturday evening, looking to end their two-game losing streak and secure a first Supporters’ Shield title.

The Reds need three points to guarantee a top-placed finish after an excellent season. They have looked vulnerable in their past two games, but the absences of Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco are valid excuses for those defeats.

Toronto are on 62 points, seven in front of NYCFC coming into the weekend. They need to reach 65 points to guarantee the Supporters’ Shield win, but they could still wrap up the win regardless, depending on NYCFC and Atlanta’s results on Saturday.

via @TorontoFC on Twitter

What is clear is that Toronto have been the best side in MLS this season. They are heading into the playoffs as the team to beat and will be looking to go one further than last year’s heartbreaking penalty shootout loss.

The Red Bulls can’t make any postseason plans until they knuckle down and secure their spot. They’ve not won in nine-straight MLS outings and have seemingly been doing all they can to let those in behind put pressure on.

Wednesday night’s 3-3 draw with DC United was a prime example of what’s gone wrong for the Red Bulls in recent weeks. They came back to lead 3-2 heading into the final minutes, but a Fidel Escobar own goal in stoppage time saw the game end 3-3.

Jesse Marsch’s men are still four points clear of Montreal coming into the weekend. They should be able to wrap up a top six finish, especially with back-to-back home games coming up after Saturday’s trip to Toronto.

But the worry is that they have no real form to be optimistic about if they do indeed lock down their playoff spot. They still have four regular season games to play though. The job will now be to start performing better at a pivotal stage of the campaign.

This will be the third meeting between the two sides this season. They shared the points in a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena back in May. Toronto haven’t won any of their last three games against the Red Bulls.

Embed from Getty Images

Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls: Team News

Toronto are set to still be without Benoit Cheyrou, although Greg Vanney has said he may have a fully fit squad to choose from. That should mean Jozy Altidore and Nick Hagglund return, with Sebastian Giovinco a doubt.

The New York Red Bulls received a boost on Wednesday as Daniel Royer made his long-awaited return from injury. But Aurelien Collin is still out, while Gideon Baah is out for the season. The same applies for Mike Grella, who won’t play again in 2017. Gonzalo Veron will be pushing for a start after making a positive impact off the bench on Wednesday.

Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls: Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: W/W/W/L/L

New York Red Bulls’ last five: D/D/L/L/D

Key Stat: Toronto have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. They haven’t lost three consecutive MLS games since the end of the 2015 season.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – If the Red Bulls are to get three points here, they’ll need BWP to be on song. He has scored in his last two away games and will be confident given Toronto’s recent defensive lapses.

Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls: Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 New York Red Bulls – The last two games between these two have ended all square. We see that trend continuing on Saturday evening. Toronto still need three points to guarantee the Supporters’ Shield title, and they will want to prevent a three-game losing streak as the playoffs edge closer. The Red Bulls need to try and secure their playoff spot. They have been struggling of late and haven’t been able to pick up wins. A point at BMO Field would be a positive result, with back-to-back home games coming up next.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact

Major League Soccer: Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact

BMO Field – Wednesday, September 20 – [19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto 4/11 – Draw 15/4 – Montreal 6/1

Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact: Preview

Toronto FC take on Montreal Impact in the penultimate 401 Derby clash of the 2017 regular season. The two rivals come into the game in contrasting form, with Toronto on a red hot streak and Montreal really struggling.

Toronto made it six wins on the bounce with a 4-0 demolition over LA Galaxy on Saturday night. That away win was made even more impressive when you consider Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco didn’t travel to California.

Don’t miss: Will Toronto break the record for the highest MLS points tally?

The Reds are closing in on their first-ever Supporters’ Shield title. They are 11 points clear of NYCFC in second place. They need five points to guarantee top spot, with their playoff place already confirmed.

via @TorontoFC on Twitter

Montreal fell 3-2 at home to Minnesota on Saturday night, making it four-straight losses. The Impact found a bit of form through August, winning four on the spin. But since then, they’ve reversed their form and dropped four consecutive games.

They are six points outside the top six with six games to play. Failure to win on Wednesday night would leave them with a mountain to climb if they’re to make the postseason.

After making the playoffs for the past two seasons, it would be a serious step backwards for the franchise if they failed to make the top six this term. But that concern will likely become a reality with a loss at their rivals here.

Toronto won the reverse fixture 3-1 last month, with goals from Giovinco (2) and Altidore proving too much. The Reds also beat Montreal over two legs to win the Canadian Championship back in June.

Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact: Team News

Toronto FC should welcome back star attacking duo Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco here after both were rested for the trip to LA. Benoit Cheyrou and Nick Hagglund are both ruled out through injury once again. Greg Vanney might make changes to his side again here, with a trip to New England coming up on Saturday.

Montreal Impact’s only injury absentee remains Ambroise Oyongo, as he is ruled out for the season. The Impact face a tricky trip to Atlanta United on Sunday night and might have to rotate the squad here as a result.

Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact: Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: W/W/W/W/W

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/L/L/L/L

Key Stat: It’s been almost a year since Toronto FC lost a home game during the regular season. Their last defeat came in October last year, when DC United picked up a 2-1 victory at BMO Field.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Atomic Ant was rested for the weekend trip to LA but he should be back and ready to attack Montreal on Wednesday. He has played more games against Montreal than against any other team in his career, scoring eight in 14 against them.

Embed from Getty Images

Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact: Prediction

Toronto FC 3-0 Montreal Impact – The fact is, Toronto FC are the best side in MLS right now. They are riding a six-game win streak and haven’t lost for two-and-a-half months. Montreal, on the other hand, have lost four-straight games and look to be in trouble. Their playoff hopes are fading fast and defeat here would leave them up against it. But with such a contrast in form between these rivals, it’s tough to see anything other than a convincing home win.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers

Major League Soccer: Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers

BMO Field – Saturday, August 12 – 18:00 ET (23:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto 4/6 – Draw 14/5 – Portland 15/4

Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers: Preview

Toronto FC welcome Portland Timbers to BMO Field on Saturday evening, as they look to extend their lead at the top of the standings.

The Reds are on course for a first Supporters’ Shield title. They have a three-point lead over their nearest chasers but know how quickly things can change in MLS. Their main focus will be continuing to pick up points to prevent the lead from slipping over the final weeks.

Toronto come into the weekend unbeaten in five games. They had to settle for a 1-1 draw away at DC United last weekend. But they’ve won eight of their last nine home games in MLS and remain undefeated at BMO Field all year.

Embed from Getty Images

Portland Timbers picked up an important 3-1 win over LA Galaxy last Sunday. That result moved them up to fifth in the West and they are back on track for a playoff spot.

Caleb Porter knows how tough a game this will be for his side. They have never won away at Toronto and have only won one of their last ten road games in MLS.

The Timbers have back-to-back home games against the New York Red Bulls and Colorado Rapids coming up after Saturday’s game. They know they have a better chance of picking up wins in those matches. But that should mean they can have a free roll of the dice at Toronto here.

This will be the only regular season meeting between the two sides this season. Their only chance of meeting again before the year’s up would be if they face off for the 2018 MLS Cup in December. That can’t be ruled out. But goals are expected in what should be an open contest on Saturday.

Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers: Team News

Toronto remain without Steven Beitashour, Benoit Cheyrou and Oyvind Alseth. Other than those three, Greg Vanney has a full squad to choose from.

Portland will be without Roy Miller after he picked up a suspension for yellow card accumulation in Sunday’s win over LA Galaxy. Amobi Okugo and Vytas are doubts. Chance Myers, Gbenga Arokoyo and Marco Farfan are all ruled out through injury.

Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers: Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: W/D/D/W/D

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

Key Stat: Portland have yet to win an away game at Toronto in MLS. The Reds have won three of the four previous clashes at BMO Field, outscoring the Timbers 8-4.

Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Atomic Ant has hit form at the perfect time for Toronto FC. He has scored 11 goals with five assists in 18 games this season. Five of those goals have come in his last seven games. Portland have the fifth-worst defensive record in MLS this season, so don’t be surprised if Giovinco punishes them.

Embed from Getty Images

Toronto FC vs Portland Timbers: Prediction

Toronto FC 3-1 Portland Timbers – This should be a really entertaining game between two of the league’s most attacking sides. The Reds are favourites and should extend their lead at the top of the standings. They have the second-best home record in MLS in 2017 and Portland have never won a game at BMO Field. The hosts are top of the table for a reason, so expect them to prove too strong here.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Toronto FC vs New York City FC

Major League Soccer: Toronto FC vs New York City FC

BMO Field – Sunday, July 30 – 14:00 ET (19:00 BST)

Match Odds: Toronto 4/5 – Draw 11/4 – NYCFC 3/1

Toronto FC vs New York City FC: Preview

Toronto FC vs New York City FC. It’s quickly becoming one of Major League Soccer’s standout fixtures. The two Eastern Conference contenders will go head-to-head for the second time in 11 days on Sunday afternoon, this time at BMO Field.

The pair drew 2-2 at Yankee Stadium on July 19 off the back of the Gold Cup break. But both sides felt they could have won the game. A contentious disallowed goal hurt Toronto, before NYCFC let a 2-1 lead slip in stoppage time, as Victor Vazquez earned TFC a point from the penalty spot.

Expect more drama on Sunday. Toronto come into the weekend at the top of the standings. They have 40 points and are on course for a first Supporters’ Shield title if they can keep their form going over the final 13 games of the regular season.

Last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Colorado ended their seven-game home win streak in MLS. But they will be confident of getting three points here, with Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Justin Morrow back from the Gold Cup.

New York City FC picked up a massive win as they beat Chicago Fire 2-1 in a key clash at the top of the East last Saturday. They need to try and pick up another rivals’ scalp again here, knowing they’ll go level on points with Toronto if they leave with all three points.

Patrick Vieira’s men have won four of their last six games. They are in good form and will surely be playing postseason soccer for the second-straight year.

Last season’s Conference Semifinal humiliation to Toronto will still be in the memory of the NYCFC faithful. The Reds were far too good in that 7-0 aggregate win. However, they’ve yet to beat New York City in six regular season attempts.

This will be the final regular season clash between the pair in 2017. Although don’t be surprised to see them battling out in the playoffs come October.

USA Clearance at Classic Football Shirts

Toronto FC vs New York City FC: Team News

Toronto FC will hope to be able to start Michael Bradley, Justin Morrow and Jozy Altidore. The trio have all returned to Toronto after winning the Gold Cup with the USA on Wednesday night. However, Greg Vanney has been dealt a blow as Benoit Cheyrou is out for eight weeks. Steven Beitashour remains out.

New York City FC will be without Maxime Chanot for the second week running. But Ben Sweat has been confirmed as fit after recovering from last week’s head injury. Khiry Shelton, Ronald Matarrita, Miguel Camargo and Rodney Wallace all remain sidelined. Yangel Herrera is suspended, so Andrea Pirlo may come into the starting lineup.

Toronto FC vs New York City FC: Key Points

Toronto FC’s last five: W/L/W/D/D

NYCFC’s last five: W/W/L/D/W

Key Stat: Toronto FC have yet to win a regular season game against New York City FC in six previous attempts. They’ve drawn four and lost two of those clashes.

Key Player: Victor Vazquez – Even though all eyes will be on Sebastian Giovinco and David Villa, Vazquez could prove to be the difference-maker. The Spanish playmaker has four goals and ten assists in MLS this season. He created five chances in the 1-1 draw with Colorado last weekend and will look to unlock NYCFC here.

Toronto FC vs New York City FC: Prediction

Toronto FC 2-2 New York City FC – The draw at Yankee Stadium 11 days ago didn’t suit either side. The same would apply here, but that’s how we see this ending. Toronto haven’t lost at home since last October, while NYCFC have only lost one of their last six. Both sides are at the top end of the standings for a reason. And both could well cancel each other out in what should be a fascinating encounter on Sunday.