Toronto FC notebook: Reds dealing and yielding … TFC announces double-headers … Reds mourn Hall

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Toronto FC coach Bob Bradley has given his club an offensive snarl this season while, defensively, the Reds are still pussy cats.

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In eight games under the club’s new head coach and sporting director, TFC has scored 15 goals, tied for fourth-most in Major League Soccer and second-best in the Eastern Conference behind NYCFC (16). Not surprisingly, when TFC and NYCFC met last Sunday night at Citi Field, the match turned into a shoot-out, a game that saw Toronto jump ahead 2-0, followed by NYCFC scoring five straight, and then Reds adding two more in the final four minutes of regulation time to make it interesting.

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First-year TFC striker Jesús Jiménez scored twice in the match, taking his total to six goals on the year- tied for the MLS-lead with Austin FC’s Sebastian Driussi. Impressively, his six goals have come on just eight shots on target.

No Toronto player scored more than four times during the entire 2021 regular season. Rookie Deandre Kerr scored his first-ever MLS goal for the Reds in the loss, which snapped a four-game unbeaten streak for Toronto. Michael Bradley also scored his first of the season. The 5-4 loss was just the 20th time in MLS history that a match featured at least nine combined goals and the first time one of those involved Toronto.

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Interestingly, despite scoring the fourth-most goals in MLS this season, the Reds have taken just 61 shots this season, by far the fewest in the league. The next-fewest shots taken is 80 by both D.C. United and Nashville SC. But the Reds have been efficient – 32 of the 61 shots Toronto has taken have been on target, a 52.5% accurate shooting percentage, by far the best in MLS (2nd – Charlotte FC, 41.2%).

Toronto’s 18 assists this season are the second-most in MLS, only behind Austin FC’s 24. Key in that tally has been the midfield duo of Jonathan Osorio and Alejandro Pozuelo, who have each registered four assists this season, one assist off the league lead of five (Raheem Edwards, LA; Diego Fagundez, ATX; Jan Gregus, SJ).

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Defensively, the Reds have given up 17 goals this year, tied with Montreal for the most against. TFC have allowed 52 shots this season, the most in MLS and are one of four clubs this season to have not recorded a clean sheet, even though goalkeeper Alex Bono has been excellent in a number of games.

Despite the holes defensively, Bradley has gone a good job turning the club around from a disastrous 2021 campaign which saw the Reds give up 66 goals in 32 games (second worse in MLS behind Cincinnati, 74) while failing to make the MLS Cup playoffs. TFC currently sits fifth in the MLS East with three wins, three losses and two draws. Under Bradley, TFC is ranked second-best in MLS in fewest offsides and fouls conceded (69) this season.

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Forward Jayden Nelson should be back in the lineup for TFC after the Brampton native missed the NYCFC match because of a red card suspension. Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Ralph Priso and Noble Okello are all likely to miss the match because of lower-body injuries. However, forward Ayo Akinola, who has dressed the last two games but has not played, could get some playing time on Saturday at BMO Field when FC Cincinnati hit town. Akinola, TFC’s leading scorer in 2020 with nine goals (tied with Alejandro Pozuelo), is almost fully recovered from a knee ACL injury he suffered last July.


The situation in England is still not going great for former TFC fullback Richie Laryea. Since joining Nottingham Forest earlier this year, Laryea has appeared in all of two games – with no starts – chalking up a total of 27 minutes played. He was substituted into the match by Forest coach Steve Cooper in the 74th minute in Forest’s 1-0 win over Fulham on April 26 and came in the 79th minute when the Reds spanked West Brom 4-0 on April 18. There is still talk that Laryea could be coming back to TFC on loan this season.

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Fans attending TFC games at BMO Field this Saturday, as well as May 14, are invited to remain at the stadium to watch the Young Reds play immediately afterwards. TFC II announced a change in start time for games this Saturday (against FC Cincinnati 2) and May 14 (against New England Revolution II) to correspond after the first team’s games. Select concession stands in the East 200L concourse will reopen at 5:30 p.m., where fans staying for the TFC II match will also be able to pick up complimentary popcorn and pop.

The Reds host FC Cincinnati this Saturday at 3 p.m.


The TFC family is mourning Bermuda goalkeeper Freddy Hall, who played 11 games for TFC in 2012. Hall died in a car crash on his home island earlier this week. He was 37.

“Everyone at the club sends our condolences to his family and loved ones,” the MLS team said in a social media post.

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Twitter @Beezersun

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