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FT: Toronto FC 2 - 2 Chicago Fire — Game thread and preview

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Follow along and chime in as the Reds try to climb the Eastern Standings against Schweinsteiger and co.

MLS: Chicago Fire at Toronto FC
Chicago Fire forward CJ Sapong (9) runs with the ball as Toronto FC defender Justin Morrow (2) attempts a challenge at BMO Field.
(Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports)

Game Thread

FT: TOR 2-2 CHI — TFC struggle but manage to get a point on the road

90+5 — Late chance for Chicago, but Katai can’t find anyone in the box. Chicago officially eliminated from playoff contention after NER defeat NYCFC

90+4’ — Osorio tried to create something down the left wing, but his cross finds no one. He seems desperate/urgent though. TFC pressing late.

90+3’ — Gaitan has a chance at the top of the box, but he puts it high. TFC got lucky there.

90+2’ — Not sure how much injury time is added on here, but if the Reds can somehow grab a goal....

87’ — Mullins gets in behind! But he cuts back and puts it wide past the far post. Not a bad effort, but he could’ve done better. That was a serious chance.

84’ — Mullins... erm. Ok, let’s move on from that one. Tis game is back-and-forth

82’ — Omar Gonzalez was due. Hope this opens the flood gates. He’s come close so many times off corners. Great ball in by Pozuelo as well.

81’ — Chicago Fire coach Paunovic getting caught up in the heat of the moment, yelling at Michael Bradley. This game is getting exciting real quick.

80’ — GOAL! GONZALEZZZZZZZZ! Powers his first home with the Reds! 2-2 Let’s Go!!!

79’ — Close by Mullins off the corner. All three subs used for Toronto here... game changed dramatically when Altidore came off.

76’ — GOAL! Chicago....2-1. Good finish by Fabian Herbers off another Gaitan cross. Oh man. Feel for Bono. Can’t fault him.

74’ — SUB: Training staff doing the right thing taking Westberg out of the game. Bono is coming in for his 100th TFC appearance.

71’ — Quentin Westberg is not happy. Holding his head. May be feeling the effects of that earlier clash with Gaitan. Trainer out. Alex Bono is on the bench

70’ — Not going to lie, this is a little depressing having to watch the rest of this match without Jozy... maybe we’ll see some Mullins magic.

69’ — GOAL! Chicago.... 1-1. Where is Auro?? So much space down the right side..... Katai was able to walk in and slot it home.

68’ — Nick DeLeon getting set to come in. More than likely coming in for Endoh. I’d like to see TFC keep that pace on the wings...

65’ — What a ball in by Katai from the wing into Nikolic, but an even better save by Westberg in tight.

63’ — Why is Patrick Mullins coming into the match...? Altidore coming off. Seems very happy after getting his goal.

61’ — As it stands — heading into the final week — Toronto FC would host a home playoff game against Wayne Rooney’s DC United side. Lots of time left still to be paid.

59’ — GOAL! JOZY! HE GETS HIS GOAL! TFC 1-0 CHI — Strength and a smart turn by Jozy Altidore shown as he gets the better of Calvo. Tidy finish. Let’s go TFC!

56’ — Westberg isn’t happy after colliding with Gaitain. Both players seem to be alright.

55’ — Jozy with another missed chance. Skuffs on the half-volley.

54’ — Dangerous ball again swung in by Justin Morrow. Oso looking a bit more comfortable on the wing as well.

53’ — Poz and Oso swapping spots. No. 10 immediately gets on the ball and creates a scoring opportunity. He needs to play as a CAM.

50’ — Toronto FC need their wingers. How long until we see either Gallardo or Benezet check into the game here?

49’ — Delgado got away with one there. Should’ve been in the book imo

47’ — I keep referring to them as the Reds, but just to be clear again, they’re wearing white tonight. Chicago is wearing red lol

46’ — We’re back. No subs for the Reds to start the second half.

Halftime Update: 0-0 at Red Bull Arena. D.C. United holding more than their own on the road in a chippy affair.

HT: TFC 0-0 CHI — Who has been the best Toronto FC player this half? Who has been the worst? Justin Morrow and Michael Bradley have impressed for me, while Oso and Endoh are leaving a little more to be desired.

45’ — The Reds blow a two-on-one at the end there. Poor decision by Endoh

42’ — Toronto lucky so far this half. It’ll be fortunate for the Reds to escape into half with the score level

38’ — Another chance for Mikolic, but he puts it high. Too much space... again.

34’ — Dangerous counter by Toronto FC. Marky Delgado makes the wrong decision to lay the ball back to Altidore as the striker’s shot is blocked.

33’ — The Reds get their first corner of the match thanks to Justin Morrow whose been one of the better TFC players this half. Endoh puts in a great ball. Kronholm with the save off Gonzalez.

31’ — Four corners for Chicago to Toronto’s none. They’re going to have to change something soon. Too many chances for the Fire...

28’ — How did that stay out!? TFC get lucky again. Starting to look very shaky here

26’ — Chicago starting to push. TFC need to hold this off.

23’ — TFC get lucky there. Nikolic is more than capable. Can’t fall asleep on him... as I’m typing this they do it again. Come on Toronto.

Poll

Was that a foul on Jozy?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    All day
    (1 vote)
  • 50%
    No, play on
    (2 votes)
  • 25%
    Soft, but yes
    (1 vote)
4 votes total Vote Now

14’ — Jozy can’t buy one. Good save by Kronholm. I don’t know about that foul.....

12’ — A boring start isn’t a bad thing for TFC on the road....

9’ — Altidore can’t be standing offside there. That’s lazy. Pozuelo starting on the left wing here. Endoh on the right.

7’ — Great ball played in but Alejandro Pozuelo swings and misses. That was a real chance.

6’ — Auro does well to keep the ball down the line. He’s back on the right side tonight. TFC taking the life out of Chicago by keeping the ball.

2’ — TFC are wearing white tonight. Mavinga does well to shield off Nikolic

1’ — We’re off. Toronto FC @ Chicago Fire. Last game at Seat Geek Stadium.

5:24 p.m. — Here we go....

5:18 p.m. — I personally like how TFC has been playing... but we need results. It’ll be tough to get goals at Seat Geek Stadium, but these are the types of fixtures Jozy has feasted on.

5:13 p.m. — Don’t forget to get your guesses into our prediction league before kickoff!

5:10 p.m. — We’ll be scoreboard watching NYRB - DC closely tonight — hoping for a tie...

5:01 p.m. — Tsubasa Endoh starts again for TFC. No need to rush Benezet back. Great read on Endoh’s emergence by Gianluca Lia here.

5:00 p.m. — Kickoff in 25 minutes. I wonder how long until we see Nicolas Benezet enter the action tonight.

4:55 p.m. — I feel like this is the game Jozy Altidore finally breaks through...

4:47 p.m. — Both of these teams have been playing really well over the last two months. Interesting to see how TFC handles playing against a desperate Chicago side

4:35 p.m. — PSA that kickoff is at 5:25 EST tonight.


Starting XI

4:25 p.m. Both teams starting strong tonight. Benezet healthy enough to make the bench for TFC. Laryea suspended so Auro naturally slides in.

Schweinsteiger and Gaitain start for Chicago. This won’t be easy in the Windy City....


Preview

TORONTO, Ont. — With only two matches remaining, Toronto FC head to Seat Geek Stadium to take on the eighth-place Chicago Fire, whose 2019 season is hanging on by a thread.

Bastian Schweinsteiger’s squad has been one of the better teams in MLS over the past two months, but they currently sit on the outside of the playoff-picture, looking in. They trail the New England Revolution by four points for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, while Toronto FC finds themselves six points clear of Chicago in sixth.

A demoralizing 0-0 tie to MLS-bottom feeders FC Cincinnati last week saw Chicago drop two crucial points, putting their post-season hopes in the hands of New England, who need to get past either New York City FC or Atlanta United in their final two matches to clinch a playoff berth. If they don’t, Chicago can win out against Toronto today and Orlando next week to sneak back into the dance.

TFC, meanwhile, will also have to bounce back after a demoralizing loss: a midweek a penalty shootout defeat in the Voyageurs Cup final against the Montreal Impact. They’ll look to pick up where they left off in the league, as the Reds haven’t lost an MLS match since Aug. 3 against the New York Red Bulls.

While they’ve already clinched a playoff spot, the Reds can still move up in the standings, potentially earning a first-round MLS Cup home game. A close eye will be kept on the match between NYRB and D.C. United, as a tie in that fixture benefits Toronto the most.

Chicago and Toronto played to a 2-2 draw back in April at BMO Field — a game which Toronto thoroughly dominated in possession (72 per cent to 28), however, the Fire managed to squeak away with a tie.

One point apiece is something that the Reds don’t want to see in their match on Sunday. A recent trend has started to develop under coach Greg Vanney’s side where the team plays well enough to earn three points, but is forced to settle for just one. It’s nice that the Reds are playing an appealing style of soccer, but at this point in the season, TFC needs results.

So, with so much on the line, what happens today? Do the Reds continue their strong stretch of play in MLS and earn three points in Chicago? Or can the Fire keep their flame burning?


Predicted Starting XI

Despite an extremely congested September, Toronto FC enter Sunday’s final match of the month boasting a healthy roster. The only question mark heading into Chicago was the health of winger Nicolas Benezet. Coach Greg Vanney has spoken for about a week now saying that he believes Benezet could play if the Reds needed him. They opted to not include the French attacker in their 18 Wednesday night against Montreal, so all signs point to TFC’s No. 7 getting his feet back under him against the Fire. Speaking of Fire, Tsubasa Endoh’s scorching-hot run of play also sees him earn a spot in the Starting XI this week, displacing TAM signing Erickson Gallardo.

Have your say. Is this the XI that TFC starts?

Toronto FC’s Predicted Starting XI vs. Chicago Fire Sept. 29
Jeffrey P. Nesker/Waking the Red

How to Watch

This one is televised, folks.

Who: Toronto FC (12-10-10) at Chicago Fire (9-12-11)
When: 5:00 PM ET
Where: SeatGeek Stadium, IL
TV: TSN 4
Radio: TSN 1050