Toronto FC has hit their minimum target point total for the season-opening road trip with two games to spare. The club, however, is not satisfied with simply reaching eight points after a 1-0 victory this weekend against D.C. United. They want to have even more points when they return home for their May 7 season.
They have two more opportunities to pick up points: this weekend's game against the Montreal Impact, and a match against the Portland Timbers. Neither of these matches will be easy, especially this weekend's game against the Eastern Conference-leading Impact.
Toronto currently sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, four points behind the Montreal Impact. From a positional standpoint, that is exactly where they would want to be after the first six games. However, with how tight the Eastern Conference has been so far will necessitate more points by May 7. Only three points separate Toronto FC from the ninth-place Columbus Crew.
Eight points from eight games is still a fairly good pace for the club, but now if they aren't able to get a result in their last two games of the road trip it will leave a negative impression. Finishing the road trip strong is incredibly important for Toronto's form when they return home to BMO Field.
Toronto FC II Looking to Remain Undefeated Against Expansion Side FC Cincinnati
If only games were 60 minutes long. That is a sentiment long echoed by Toronto FC supporters, and one that has now translated down to their USL affiliate. If USL games, for whatever reason, were 60 minutes long Toronto FC II would have a perfect 3-0 record.
Instead, a 2-2 draw with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds this weekend means Toronto FC II are 1-2-0 on the season. They remain undefeated, but not as high in the standings as they would like. They currently sit ninth in the USL Eastern Conference.
This weekend they will get a chance to move up further in the Eastern Conference standings when they play expansion side FC Cincinnati for the first time. Cincinnati currently sits two spots above TFC II, with one more point.
The match will once again be played the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughn, Ontario on Sunday. TFC II will hope the strong home atmosphere they received from their home opener last weekend will continue.
Benoit Cheyrou Out Long-term, Endoh and Simonin Set to Return
Some good news and some bad news for Toronto FC on the injury front. It was announced earlier this week that veteran midfielder Benoit Cheyrou will miss up to five weeks with a leg injury. Cheyrou has been out of the roster since the Colorado match, where he was suspended after a pair of yellow cards. With him out, Toronto FC have been forced to shift to four players in the midfield from the three they were playing earlier in the season.
The good news, however, is that rookie Tsubasa Endoh was back in training this week. He has been out since last month with a leg contusion. Toronto FC's 2015 first round draft pick impressed in his first few games with the club, and looks like he will be a good attacking option off the bench going forward.
The same can be said of Clement Simonin, who has not been in the Toronto FC roster for some time. The talented centre back impressed in limited minutes with Toronto FC last season, but injury has meant he has rarely been available for selection. After successful meniscus surgery, he should soon return to training.
Update on Voyageurs Cup on TSN
Quick update on the Voyageurs Cup, which for the first time ever will be played on TSN instead of Sportsnet. The first round of the competition, an all NASL battle between FC Edmonton and the Ottawa Fury, will be streamed online. The two-legged preliminary round is set to be played on May 11 and 18.
The semi-final round of the competition will be played in early June, and the matches will be available on the TSN television channel. This is where Toronto FC will face the Montreal Impact, and the Vancouver Whitecaps will take on the winner of the preliminary round. The final is set to be played at the end of June with the dates still to be announced.