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FT: Toronto FC 0-1 Nashville SC—MLS Cup Playoffs preview, game thread, how to watch

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Win or go home: the postseason is upon us! Join Michael Singh who has us covered with the live commentary this evening as the Reds embark on their 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs voyage. Will it be another long one?

MLS: Nashville SC at Toronto FC David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

LIVE MATCH THREAD

FT: TORONTO FC 0-1 NASHVILLE SC—Toronto FC’s season ends in Round One of the MLS Cup Playoffs at the hands of the expansion side.

111’—Liam Fraser and Erickson Gallardo checking into the game for Omar Gonzalez and Richie Laryea.

107—GOAL! Nashville SC 1-0 Toronto FC—Nashville find the back of the net after some brutal defending from Omar Gonzalez, who gets beat twice before allowing a clean strike off on goal and Rios taps home a free rebound. 13 minutes for TFC to salvage their season...

103’—At first glance, that’s a penalty, imo, as Laryea goes down in the Nashville box after getting clipped by Lovitz. The referee doesn’t agree, however, and will play on. Both teams still looking for the first goal here.

101’—Tony Gallacher and Ralph Priso both getting set to check into the match for Auro and Piatti. I don’t know about that Piatti sub.

100’—GOA—Sike! Once again, Nashville is flagged down for offside after putting the ball in the back of the net—the third time tonight. Mukhtar chips Westberg, celebrates, and then realizes the linesman’s flag has been put up.

96’—Great opportunity there for TFC as Laryea puts a ball across the face of goal but Akinola, free at the back post, just can’t get there in time. Positive start to extra time for the Reds, probably the best we’ve seen them play all game.

93’—Free Ralph Priso.

FT: Toronto FC 0-0 Nashville SC—We’re going to extra time after 90 minutes! If we’re still scoreless after another 30 minutes (two 15 minute halves) the game will go to penalties. Win or go home.

90+1’—CHANCE! WHAT A SAVE BY Q! Quentin Westberg comes up big as a scrambled corner finds its way to Waker Zimmerman alone in front of Q, and the GK makes himself big to make the save! BIG TIME FROM Q! Extra time looking likely here...

82’—Jozy Altidore comes out of the match for Patrick Mullins. Vanney sticking with two strikers here...

77’—CHANCE! Akinola almost taps home on a rare break forward from the Reds orchestrated by Richie Laryea. Still 0-0.

75’—Is this FIFA or real life? Another pretty open header by Nashville from the six yard box goes WIDE. How is this game still scoreless? This TFC right side is a freeway right now for Nashville; Vanney needs to change something ... and he has. Laryea on the right now with Auro on the left.

75’—Another Nashville chance! Pulse check, everyone?

74’—A high press works in Torotno FC’s favour, as Pozuelo finds himself in a one-on-one, but comes up with a disappointing effort. Both teams are knocking on the door here...

72’—You honestly couldn’t ask for a better position to head home from after Alistair Johnston again whips in a very appealing cross, but Mukhtar makes a mess of it. TFC got lucky there as Nashville really should be ahead here...

70’—Nashville replacing strikers here as Jhomer (Cadiz) checks out of the match for Rios. It’s still very much either team’s game.

60’—Ayo Akinola getting set to check into the match for Nick DeLeon. I don’t mind both Altidore and Akinola coming on here actually, change the tempo of this match a bit. DeLeon also struggled a bit today...

54’—GOA—HOLD ON! IT’S BEING CALLED BACK AGAIN! ACTUALLY!? For the second time this evening, Jhonder heads the ball in the back of the net, but is eventually flagged for offside! It took the linesman a really long time that time...

53’—I can’t believe Jayden Nelson is not in this squad. If it’s not an injury, I’m surprised because this game is honestly screaming his name.

49’—CHANCE! Nashville’s Mukhtar has an open header at the far post, but he puts it wide. It wasn’t the easiest opportunity to convert, but still a chance nevertheless.

46’—With Altidore trotting back out, the question continues to loom: how long until we see Ayo Akinola?

46’—We’re back! No substitutions for either side as both teams try and find that first goal. It comes down to the final 45 minutes though...or will we see extra time?

HT—Toronto FC 0-0 Nashville SC: Both teams head into the break scoreless. What should Greg Vanney change (if anything) in the second half?

33’—Nothing for Oso, play on. He got a bit lucky there...

33’—Jonathan Osorio could be in trouble here... he kicks out a little bit after being taken down by Muyl, but the Nashville player makes the most out of it. He definitely kicked out, but it wasn’t clear and obvious that he made contact...

Poll

Should Jonathan Osorio have been sent off there?

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    Yes
    (10 votes)
  • 41%
    No
    (7 votes)
17 votes total Vote Now

26’—CHANCE! Great build-up play from Toronto FC, including a layoff from Altidore and Pozuelo, springs Piatti who cuts it back to an open DeLeon, but the veteran’s shot from six-yards out is stopped and held by Nashville SC goalkeeper Joe Willis.

19’—Jozy almost finds space in the box after Piatti picks off possession in a dangerous area, but Altidore can’t catch up to Piatti’s pass. A sharp and fit Jozy man have gotten onto the end of that pass. He does, however, follow up that play with a hard run to make space for Pozuelo, who bends his effort wide. Better from the Reds. Much better.

15’—We’ll take that foul on Richie ... not sure Ayo gets that called on him though!

13’—GOA—hold up. Offside! Jhonder thinks he opens the scoring for Nashville, but the striker is flagged down for offside despite heading home a cross. He was a good two feet off.

9’—Toronto FC seemed to have settled in here a little bit, but now it’s going to be tough to break down a Nashville SC back line, spearheaded by MLS Defender of the Year Walker Zimmerman and Aurora, Ontario’s—yes that Aurora Ontario—Alistair Johnston.

4’—Playoff scarf is out for coach Vanney, as Timmy pointed out in our comments. Nashville pressing hard early on, resulting in TFC giving up some possession carelessly. Let’s see if the Reds can settle in here...

1’—Players take a knee prior to kickoff in protest against racial injustice, and WE’RE OFF! PLAYOFF TIME! Toronto FC kickoff to start the match. Richie Laryea starting on the left-hand side with Auro on the right.

6:22 p.m. EST—Tweeted this out, but I’ll leave this here too:

6:19 p.m. EST—I’m really interested to see how Toronto FC are going to start this game. Will they set the tempo from the get-go? Or will Nashville SC be the ones gunning out of the gates? I said on Waking the Red Weekly earlier today that I believe Nashville will park the bus early on and play on the counter, so we’ll see if that theory holds true.

6:12 p.m. EST—Is Richie Laryea playing on the left or right tonight? Great shout in our comment thread:

“Personally I look forward to the Canadian vs Canadian (Alistair Johnston) down that side. Plus I feel like Auro is more engaged when he plays on the right. The good things is they can just swap sides during the game if need be” — BandwagonFan15

5:52 p.m. EST—I did want to leave this on my game thread before we get started: Yesterday, Toronto FC became the first MLS club to officially partner with Black Players for Change, launching the UNITE initiative, which will be used to raise funds during TFC’s playoff run to provide youth equitable access to sport in Toronto.

There are two ways fans can support this initiative:

Participating throughout the playoffs in MLSE Foundation’s 50/50 matchday jackpot starting on Monday, November 23 from anywhere in Ontario

Purchasing items from Toronto FC’s exclusive adidas UNITE Capsule Collection available at Real Sports Apparel.

5:40 p.m. EST—So excited for some playoff footy. Win or go home! TFC leaving everything on the field tonight at The Rent...as always, make sure to leave your guesses for today’s final scoreline in our prediction league!

5:33 p.m. EST—Fire.

5:25 p.m. EST—The lineups are in! Pablo Piatti and Richie Laryea are in the Starting XI while Jozy Altidore starts up top in place of Ayo Akinola!

5:23 p.m. EST—We’re hearing there’s a 6:25 p.m. EST kickoff time tonight, meaning lineup should drop any minute now.

5:20 p.m. EST—Where are the lineups!? My match-day anxiety can’t handle the suspense.

5:00 p.m. EST—Forgive me for using this word again and you’ll probably catch me using it again in this game thread, but there’s a buzz around virtual Toronto this evening, not just on #TFCLive. It’s nice to see this team get some well-deserved coverage. So on that note, how y’all feeling tonight? It’s finally GAME DAY.

4:01 p.m. EST—Just one word from me right now: buzzing.


STARTING LINEUPS

Here’s how Toronto FC lineup in this win-or-go home game!

And for the visiting Nashville SC...


PREDICTED STARTING XI

Here’s how we at Waking the Red believe Toronto FC will line up Tuesday evening vs. Nashville SC—and yes, we don’t have Jozy Altidore starting.


MATCH PREVIEW (via Brady Reid)

TORONTO, Canada—Toronto FC begin their quest to return to the MLS Cup Final against an unfamiliar opponent as they play host to expansion side Nashville SC on Tuesday in East Hartford—a place they will likely remain until the end of their postseason.

The playoff contest will mark the first ever battle between these two clubs, the first instance in the league where two sides’ inaugural meeting comes in the postseason.

TFC come into this one in shaky form, limping out of the regular season with just one win in their final four fixtures. A 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Decision Day saw the Reds finish second in the East and runner-up in the Supporters’ Shield race behind the Philadelphia Union.

Conversely, Nashville lost just once in their last eight regular-season games to finish seventh in the Eastern Conference table. Conceding just 22 times in 23 games, they boasted the stingiest defence (goals against per game) for a first-year franchise in league history. Nashville continued their impressive rookie campaign in the play-in round last Friday evening when they comfortably dismissed fellow newcomers Inter Miami 3-0.

One of the few negatives, however, from Nashville’s dominant win at Nissan Stadium last week was the injury suffered by Anibal Godoy. The Panama native has been a fixture in the middle of the park all season but after being forced off late against Miami is expected to be unavailable Tuesday versus TFC.

A pair of attackers in Dominique Badji and Abu Danladi are also likely to miss out for the visitors.

The TFC injury report comes with a lot more questions than answers ahead of Tuesday.

While Jozy Altidore made a cameo appearance off the bench, his first minutes in a month, both Richie Laryea and Jonathan Osorio started but did not finish the Reds final regular season game against the Red Bulls.

Justin Morrow, Marky Delgado, and Pablo Piatti were all entirely unavailable at Red Bull Arena a couple weeks back and as such, questions loom over the fitness of those three, particularly Piatti who’s missed four straight matches with a calf strain.

With two weeks just to train and appropriately recover, TFC are at the very least expected to be healthier than they were down the stretch to close the regular season. For the time being however, Greg Vanney is remaining relatively hush on the specifics of who will be available.

Although revisiting tapes of previous match-ups is not an option for Vanney and his staff in this one, the Reds manager is well aware of the strengths this Nashville side have demonstrated in year one.

“This is a team with a lot of veteran MLS experience, they’re guys who know how to win in this league,” Vanney told the media on Saturday. “They know who they are, they know how to go about getting results, they are disciplined and they have those foundations.”

A team known for their defensive structure and stinginess at the back, Nashville added another element to their game when they fired three past Miami in last week’s dominant display.

With the unfamiliarity between the two teams and the uncertainty of just how the Reds XI might look, anticipation for this one is beginning to boil over with kickoff just a day away.

Additional Notes:

  • Nashville are just the second expansion side to win a postseason match in their first MLS season.
  • TFC last played a playoff game at a “neutral site” in 2019 at Citi Field against New York City FC where Alejandro Pozuelo’s 90th minute panenka sent them to the Eastern Conference Finals.

PREGAME READS


HOW TO WATCH

Who: Nashville SC
When: Tuesday, November 24, 6:00 PM ET
Where: Rentschler Field, Connecticut
TV: TSN 1/4/5
Radio: TSN 1050