FT: Toronto FC 2 - 2 San Jose Earthquakes—The Reds don’t get their result. Disappointing after a strong effort.
90+4’—GOAL! Toronto FC 2-2 San Jose Earthquakes... what a free kick. Wow.
90+3’—Yikes. Free kick coming up for San Jose. What a dive...
90+1’—See. Out. The. Win. Three minutes of injury time.
83’—TFC have taken the life out the game, which is exactly what they wanted. The clock is slowly ticking for SJ with not much happening for their side.
79’—Watching those minutes. Patrick Mullins comes in for Jozy Altidore as Toronto FC use their final sub of the game. Jonathan Osorio takes over as captain.
75’—Tsubasa Endoh has made his case tonight; he’s dancing out there. Liam Fraser checks into the game for Alejandro Pozuelo, who has been outstanding today. Vanney looking to shore up the middle of the park.
71’—Yellow Card for Jozy. Don’t hate to see that.
66’—Again, TFC need to see this one out. Chris Wondolowski is coming into the game. He holds the record for most goals scored by a single player against Toronto FC. And again, shoutout Martyn Bailey.
61’—No hand ball!? Great chance as the ball eventually ricochets down to Altidore after some great work from Pozuelo, who strikes it onto the hand of the defender. Would’ve been harsh to give it. TFC need to see this one out.
58’—Greg Vanney sitting on 99 wins as coach of Toronto FC (s/o Martyn Bailey).
Seems like a decent time to mention that Greg Vanney is on 99 @TorontoFC wins #TFCLive #TheyWillSeeRed @WakingtheRed @vocalminorityCA @24thminute @joshuakloke @KristianJack @LukeWileman pic.twitter.com/UKk1l1JYso— Martyn Bailey (@martyn_bailey) February 29, 2020
53’—GOAL! Toronto FC 2-1 San Jose. Damn. That’s a bad goal to concede, but what a ball swung into the near-post by Espinoza.
52’—GOAL! Toronto FC 2-0 San Jose. Richie Laryea scores after coming on at half time for Shaff, as he puts home Endoh’s rebound. Great play by Poz to spring Endoh originally.
50’—But why is Tsubasa Endoh taking corners?
49’—Chance! Brilliant dummy by Altidore to set up a great strike by Endoh, who forces the keeper to make a difficult save off the cross bar. Real nice play by Tsubasa.
48’—One change at half for Toronto FC as Richie Laryea checks in for Jacob Shaffelburg. Another strong start out of the gate by the Reds.
HT: Toronto FC 1 - 0 San Jose — Great half by Vanney’s side, considering they didn’t win a game on the road vs. Western Conference teams last season. What would you change?
40’—GOAL! Toronto FC 1-0 San Jose. Coolness and composure from Alejandro Pozuelo who goes left with the penalty as the GK dives the wrong way. First goal of the season for Toronto FC goes to Poz. Who else got that right in our prediction league?
38’—PENALTY! TORONTO FC! It looks like the referee has spotted something in the box off the corner—a lot of contact between Altidore and his defender, and the ref rules it a penalty! Wow. We’ll take it.
37’—Pozuelo is going to tear it up this season, isn’t he?
35’—This hasn’t been Shaff’s day so far. A lot of promise, but hasn’t been able to put it together quite yet. Still time to change that.
31’—This team dropped too many points, despite playing well towards the end of last season. I get that it’s game one, and there’s a lot of time left, but these are points that you need to pick up if you want to be around for the Supporters Shield race at the end of the year.
28’—Shaff goes the other way, has a half chance, but settles for just the corner after some good defending. Again, Shaff could’ve probably done better there.
28’—Great save by Q! He stretches down to his left to keep a shot from the corner of the box out. Justin Morrow calmly clears it out for a corner and all is well.
27’—Toronto FC look like they’re playing 4-4-2 when not in possession. Similar to the Seba days.
22’—Jozy gets in behind... and he puts the ball just wide. He was definitely offside though, but the late flag allows him to finish—or I guess not finish—his chance.
18’—Having Omar Gonzalez for a full season is going to make the world of a difference.
16’—Good start by the Reds, as San Jose is mostly relying on long, hopeless balls into the box that are easily cleaned up by Toronto’s defenders. That’s not going to work with Gonzalez in the back line. TFC, for the most part, are dictating the pace of play, but they need to find that final product.
10’—What are our thoughts on the first 10 minutes? First official match of the year, so players are still finding their feet. All-in-all, TFC look in control, as expected. Shaffelburg had a real chance there, but wasn’t able to make the right decision at the top of the box. If that’s Pablo Piatti that the ball falls to, I believe that finds its way into the back of the net.
5’—Can this shade go away in the attacking end go away?
3’—Tsubasa Endoh down early after a dangerous tackle with both players sliding in. Endoh coming out of the challenge with the worst of it, clutching his leg, but he seems to be alright shaking it off.
1’—We’re off. Good start by Shaff to burn down the line and earn the corner. Big chance for both him and Endoh to make their case for minutes this season.
5:36 p.m.—Last call for the first Prediction League of 2020!
5:35 p.m.—So stay locked into WTR in 2020 because I promise we will!
5:33 p.m.—I really don’t like “tooting my own horn” or whatever, but I’m really trying to up the TFC coverage. I’m in on almost every media call and attend almost every media availability. I wrote about Jozy being the most likely candidate to wear the armband about a month ago.
5:30 p.m.—It’s finally 5:30! Minutes away from the start of the 2020 Toronto FC season. Happy to see some new and familiar faces in here! Anyone watching the game from anywhere cool?
5:26 p.m.—Great pregame coverage by Kristian Jack and the entire TSN crew. No doubt, in my opinion, that this is Quentin Westberg’s net for the foreseeable future.
5:15 p.m.—4-2-3-1 it is for Greg Vanney’s side. Expect Poz to pull some strings at CAM. He’s told me that playing as the No. 10 is his preferred position.
5:01 p.m.—Captain Jozy Altidore leads the Toronto FC side out for the first time in 2020.
5:00 p.m.—30 minutes away from kickoff. Montreal managed to sneak out a result at home against New England in Thierry Henry’s first MLS match as manager! That was a wild game to open the MLS season. The 401 Derby matches between TOR & MTL should be a lot better this year.
4:55 p.m.—I can’t believe we were sleeping on Shaff. 2020 is his year, isn’t it?
4:45 p.m.—Very interesting to see no Liam Fraser in the starting XI as Vanney opts to roll with two central midfielders as opposed to a holding mid. Pozuelo plays as a No. 10 with Shaff and Endoh—more natural wingers—occupying the wings.
4:30 p.m.—Roughly one hour away from the start of the 2020 Toronto FC season. I’m Downtown Toronto. Who’s buzzing?
12:31 p.m. EST—I set this up just after noon today because I’m so fired up. I can’t believe a new MLS season is already upon us. It’ll be my very first covering the team from the get-go (as I joined WTR in September). I’m pumped for everyone to see the coverage that we have in store for 2020.
The first Toronto FC lineup of 2020 is right on time. Who are you most excited to see?
And the bad guys...are late. Here’s their side. How many names do you recognize?
Match Preview (Courtesy Brady Reid)
TORONTO, Ont.—After nearly three months of waiting, Toronto FC are back.
Following some preseason fun in the sun in California, the Reds stick around the Golden state to kick off the 2020 MLS regular season on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes.
“A lot of it is going to come down to mentality. Playing the way they play, it's a mentality game.” #TFCLive— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) February 27, 2020
TFC come into 2020 looking very similar to the side that came oh so close last season, making it all the way to the MLS Cup final in 2019.
The big offseason addition came in the form of designated player Pablo Piatti, with the Argentine winger joining the club from La Liga side Espanyol.
In typical Toronto FC fashion, Piatti is unavailable for the opener due to injury and will be joined on the sidelines by club Captain Michael Bradley thanks to an operation on his ankle. Bradley is expected to be out until at least May, while Nick DeLeon is also questionable for Saturday as of now due to back spasms.
For a more detailed breakdown of the state of the team heading into 2020, check out our WTR season preview here.
San Jose are coming off a mediocre 2019 season which saw them finish eighth in the Western conference, four points back of FC Dallas for the final playoff spot.
The Earthquakes offseason was not dissimilar than that of Toronto. Much of their work consisted of internal affairs, bringing back key senior players and graduating some homegrown talent to the first team.
Their three big moves were bringing back Captain Chris Wondolowski for one final season, making Cristian Espinoza a permanent Quakes player, and acquiring Mexican defender Oswaldo Alanis on loan from Liga MX outfit Guadalajara.
At age 36, Wondolowski still had it for San Jose last season scoring a team high 15 goals. With the American legend still converting at a quality rate, bringing him back for one last kick at the can was a no brainer.
Espinoza is coming off a strong debut season in San Jose where he scored twice and added 13 assists while on loan from Spanish side Villarreal. The 24-year-old Argentine should be a key piece of the Quakes attack this season with a new deal and a full year of MLS experience under his belt.
Alanis is a name many TFC fans will remember as he played a big role in Guadalajara’s 2018 Concacaf Champions League final triumph where they beat the Reds in penalties. For his efforts in that competition, he was named to the best XI as one of the top four defenders.
Quakes Head Coach Matías Almeyda will be hoping the now 30-year-old Alanis will bring some of that stability and experience to the San Jose backline.
The two sides faced off just once last year with San Jose topping TFC 2-1 in May at BMO Field thanks to a Wondolowski brace. The loss came in the middle of an eight-game stretch by which Toronto failed to win a single match. Even with a couple key pieces missing through injury, expect a much more energetic side this time out.
Ahead of the opener on Saturday, Greg Vanney addressed the media regarding the group’s preparations for San Jose as well as the season as a whole:
“It’s always interesting to start the year with a team that plays such clear, defined, but unique, style,” said Vanney. “And we want to prepare for an entire season, we don’t want to just prepare for one game. They won’t change things too much. That’s the way he (Almeyda) plays; they’ll try to just get better at what they’re trying to do.”
Despite a few injuries and some fresh faces within the group, Vanney likes where the team is headed as they begin the quest to get back the MLS Cup Final for a fourth time in five years.
“We’ve got a good mix of guys, they get along great, work hard for each other, have good chemistry on the field, we’re comfortable with that and now we get the league started.”
- Toronto FC Head Coach Greg Vanney would secure his 100th win in charge of the club with a victory on Saturday.
- Chris Wondolowski currently leads the MLS all-time goals list with 159 and counting. The closest active player on the list is Colorado Rapids forward Kei Kamara who sits in fourth place with 126 coming into the 2020 season.
- Jozy Altidore is expected to wear the Captain’s armband vs. San Jose with Michael Bradley missing out through injury.
Predicted Starting XI:
Here’s Waking The Red’s predicted Toronto FC starting XI for the first matchup of the season.
HOW TO WATCH:
Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. EST on Saturday afternoon, and those in Canada can watch on TSN. Alternatively, you can stream the match using ESPN+ or FuboTV subscriptions ($), which gives you access to all MLS games this season. Michael Singh will have your Live Game Thread up right here before the match, so make sure you come ready to chime in. The 2020 Toronto FC season begins today.