Toronto FC are looking to run the table on this, the opening month of their 13th season in Major League Soccer. After their continental aspirations were extinguished in the first round of the Concacaf Champions League, the club is looking to win three league games on the bounce to start a season for the first time in their history.
Though 13 years is a relatively short existence in the world of global football, it does provide us with some numbers to compare and contrast today’s Reds with their counterparts of the past. Here are some things to consider as New York City FC come to town on the 29th.
Jozy’s Century of Starts
Altidore is on a century of starts in all competitions for the Reds. If he makes Greg Vanney’s starting XI on Friday night, it will be his 100th starting assignment for Toronto – the seventh club member to make that mark since 2007. Altidore’s total will include 75 in regular season play, but stretches across all five competitions in which Toronto has competed. Yes, numbers here will include the infamous Campeones Cup – perhaps no one’s favourite trophy, but a competitive match, none the less.
Opening Pozuelo’s Account
Alejandro Pozuelo is expected to take the pitch on Friday to consummate his much-talked-about two-month courtship with the club. When he does, he’ll look to join an exclusive group of Reds who’ve scored on their debut.
Eleven men have scored in their competitive debut with the first team. Two of those players – Jermain Defoe and Altidore – notched a pair. Of the seven starters and four substitutes, Justin Braun required the fewest minutes to find the target, scoring 12 minutes after his 73rd minute call from the bench.
When looking at players who’ve scored in their first MLS match with Toronto FC, the group grows by three but must remove Silva (who scored in CCL play vs. the LA Galaxy at Rogers Centre). Nick DeLeon is the most recent man to score on his league debut with Toronto, but not in his competitive debut with the club.
Stops From The Spot
Toronto FC’s woes from the penalty spot are no secret to anyone who follows the club, but the success of their opponents is of equal distinction. Historically, Toronto FC have stopped just 11 of the 83 penalties taken against them – a 13.25% success rate; a number that only worsens when the sample size skews more recent.
Of the past 15 penalties taken against Toronto FC, only one has been stopped (Bono on Schweinsteiger, last season). If you want to go to a dark place, you could add the 4/4 from Chivas in last year’s CCCL Final, and note that Toronto has stopped 1 of the last 19 kicks of importance from the spot. (5.3%).