FT: Toronto FC 0-0 NE Revolution— A somewhat uneventful 90 minutes comes to a close with a draw. TFC can finish first or second in Group C depending on the result later tonight.
90+4’— Akinola with yet another look at goal but he’s caught offside.
90+2’— NE with another half chance but Bono does his job once again.
90’— Five additional minutes for both sides to try and snatch all three points.
88’— After a check it’s a free kick on the edge of the box. Damn.
87’— PENALTY TFC! Akinola is taken down just inside the area. Referee consulting with VAR to confirm.
86’— It’s Altidore for Mavinga. Altidore-Akinola up front. Let’s see if they can steal one at the death, buckle up.
84’— Laurent Ciman is on for Auro, Altidore appears to be ready to get a few minutes in before the final whistle. TFC not content with the draw.
81’— Bradley looks to have made contact with Bou in the TFC penalty area. Somehow VAR has stayed away from that one, possibly a big break for Toronto there.
79’— Akinola with another great chance to break the deadlock but he’s denied. Another coming on his left foot but full marks to Turner in the Revs goal.
74’— Massive pointblank save from Bono on Buksa to keep this one 0-0. That one had to feel good after going so long without a start.
74’— Still very little going forward with purpose from TFC. Revs forcing corners and keeping the ball in Toronto’s half effectively.
67’— Double substitution for Vanney after the hydration break. Tsubasa Endoh and Noble Okello coming on for Marky Delgado and Pablo Piatti. Huge opportunity for the young Okello making his MLS debut. Let’s see if some fresh legs can make a difference in this last half hour or so.
20 year old Noble Okello is checking into the match for Toronto FC. This is his MLS debut.#TFCLive | #MLSisBack— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) July 21, 2020
61’— Free kick in a dangerous position with Piatti drawing the foul. Poz range.
57’— Shaff’s work rate on the left presents a couple half chances for TFC. Much better, something to build on.
54’— Fagundez’s deflected shot JUST misses the far post. The resulting corner presents another huge chance for the Revs with Bye just missing a header from the top of the six. Toronto on their heels now.
51’— Buchanan with a decent chance that goes begging. The Revs the better of the two teams in early days of the 2nd half.
50’— Bradley with a crunching tackle which he is rightfully cautioned for. At least it’s a sign a of life.
46’— Play resumes. Shaffelburg comes on for DeLeon. Shaff should inject some pace into a match that’s been dying for a difference maker.
HT: TFC 0 - 0 NE Revolution — Not too much to dissect after forty five. NE doing a good job of preventing TFC’s playmakers to get on the ball. Should Vanney switch things up for the second half?
45’ — Revs really starting to find some synergy going forward, Buchanan looks dangerous on the right. Three additional minutes for TFC to make a splash before the break.
38’ — Hasn’t been the attacking display we’ve seen from the Reds recently so far. With that said, I forgot Bono was in goal until just now so things could be worse.
36’ — Plenty of fouls preventing either side from building any genuine momentum in this stage of the match. Ten or so minutes for TFC to make a statement before the half.
29’ — Another look at the Akinola chance at the hydration break. It’s the anticipation and awareness that’s so impressive for such a young player.
Still a ridiculously small sample size with Akinola but one reason to be confident in his future is that he just keeps finding high-leverage chances like this b/c of his movement.— Matthew Doyle (@MattDoyle76) July 21, 2020
Movement is repeatable and reliable. Missed the chance, but he'll get another. pic.twitter.com/A6gj5WBBiQ
26’ — Vocal Vanney is a treat. Could listen to his touchline shouts all day long.
24’ — New England in no rush to press the Reds center backs but rather much more concerned about Bradley getting on the ball. Auro and Laryea will be key outlets.
19’ — Akinola in all alone can’t beat the keeper on his left foot. As impressive as he’s been all tournament still could be more clinical on his left peg.
15’ — Pozuelo tries to dink one over the keeper from inside the box. Sean Johnson is sweating watching that one in his hotel room.
11’ — DeLeon looks lively early on. Good sign in his first start of the season.
8’ — TFC came flying out of the gates but the Revs have taken some of the sting out of it. Time to get back on the front foot.
3’ — This new high-flying Auro is a delight to watch. Those triangles on the right wing with Pozuelo and Piatti are a nightmare for the opposition to deal with.
1’ — We’re OFF! Group C up for grabs. Come on you Reds!
9:00 am EST— Kickoff now just minutes away. Buzzing.
8:59 am EST— Shout out Tajon Buchanan getting the start for New England. Young Brampton boy who’s an exciting attacking prospect for the Canadian national team.
8:55 am EST— Back to Bono. Back to the Unity kit.
Getting closer. ⏰ #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/5Lci26UkqM— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 21, 2020
8:48 am EST— John Herdman straight serenading Akinola on the pregame show. We are all John Herdman.
8:40 am EST— Oso not in the squad once again today, while Altidore makes the bench for this one. Will we see a Jozy cameo appearance?
8:30 am EST— Bono makes his first start since May 8th, 2019!!! DeLeon with his first appearance in the XI of 2020. What’s everyone thinking about the lineup?
8:12 am EST— Looks like it won’t be the only cup of the day. Perhaps the drink of choice might evolve as the day goes on.
Triple Header today TSN#MLSisBack pic.twitter.com/0N6ZYhajQN— TSN Soccer (@TSNSoccer) July 21, 2020
8:00 am EST— One hour until kickoff... join Oso and Co. with a cup of joe as we await the starting XI.... Zzzzz...
9am kickoff. You know the drill, #TFCLive ☕️ pic.twitter.com/cuMTVqqTbR— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) July 21, 2020
10:15 pm EST— No 10:30 contest tonight (or midnight here in Newfoundland) means getting a decent rest for what should be a raucous match in the morning. Check back around 8 am EST with coffee in hand to check out the starting lineup and chat everything else before the opening whistle.
10:05 pm EST— It finishes 1-1 between the Union and Orlando City, meaning the Lions take top spot in Group A. Philly settle for second place and will play the second place team from Group C (TFC’s group) in the round of 16.
10:00 pm EST— Roughly 12 hours until kickoff for the Reds final group stage game as they take on the Revs. Who’s up and keeping an eye on Group A in this Orlando-Philly match?
Here’s the lineup for the Reds. Two changes from last time out including Alex Bono in between the pipes & Nick DeLeon getting a start out wide.
Let’s finish strong.— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) July 21, 2020
Today's Starting XI vs. @NERevolution
Pres. by @PlayStationCA#MLSisBack | #TORvNE | #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/2njgiJSz1q
Lots of rotation for the Revs with Gustavo Bou on the bench and Carles Gil missing out entirely through injury. Big blow to the bad guys as they’ve been one of the 1-2 punches of the tournament.
Bacon, eggs & #NERevs #TORvNE | @UHC pic.twitter.com/04p21EV7je— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) July 21, 2020
ST.JOHN’S, Canada— Two teams with identical records and goal differential face-off Tuesday morning when Toronto FC and the New England Revolution conclude their group stage schedules with a shot at Group C supremacy on the line.
TFC comes in fresh off a high-flying victory in the latest chapter of the ‘401 Derby’ where they topped the Montreal Impact 4-3 Thursday evening thanks in large in part to hat-trick hero Ayo Akinola.
The Revs looked ready to follow up their tournament-opening 1-0 result over the Impact with another three points on Friday night until D.C. United and Federico Higuaín once again snatched a point at the death, as New England ultimately had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
Both clubs sit on four points through two games played and clinching a spot in the round of 16 feels but a formality with four of the six third-place teams earning a place in the knockout stages.
With that sense of security in mind, Greg Vanney has plenty of options in how his team might look in their third and final group stage game.
Playing the kids and a couple of depth players who have yet to feature extensively is an option TFC’s head coach is pondering ahead of Tuesday.
“We’ll see what’s in store for us, Vanney told James Grossi of MLSSoccer.com. “But hopefully we can get some guys in, whether that’s starting or through the five substitutions, that haven’t seen some action.”
Vanney could also have some major reinforcements in the form of both Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Osorio against the Revs.
Neither Altidore nor Osorio have featured in this tournament thanks to injury/fitness concerns but could be available, at least off the bench, in TFC’s third match in eight days.
The dominance of Akinola upfront and the magic of Alejandro Pozuelo behind him in the No. 10 role, however, should have the Reds in no rush to hurry either of the aforementioned veterans back into the lineup before they are fully ready to return.
For Bruce Arena and New England, rotation has been far from priority number one so far in this competition.
New England went with the same starting XI in both of their first two matches, while making just a single substitution before the hour mark in the two contests. With plenty left to play for against Toronto, expect the Revs to send out a similar lineup barring any injury concerns.
Since Arena took over from Brad Friedel last May, the Revolution have been nothing short of a revelation. NE crawled out of the basement of the Eastern conference to steal the seventh and final playoff spot last season, losing just three of their final 21 matches down the stretch with a record of 8W-10D-3L in their new coach’s first season.
One of those draws came at Gillette Stadium back on August 31st, 2019 where New England and Toronto FC played to a 1-1 stalemate.
With Toronto fielding a front three consisting of Erickson Gallardo, Patrick Mullins, and Nicolas Benezet that night, it’s hard to read too far into the result.
Benezet has since joined the Colorado Rapids, while the Gallardo-Mullins pairing has combined to play just seventeen minutes off the bench so far in Toronto’s two ‘MLS is Back’ matches.
While the squads may look slightly different, the difference between the two sides remains as marginal as it was last summer. The biggest stats separating the two so far in this tournament comes in the goals scored and conceded columns.
Both owning a +1 GD in the competition, Toronto has scored six times and allowed five in the process, while New England has picked up a pair of goals in their two games, giving up just one in their own end.
Only Bob Bradley’s ruthless LAFC squad has scored more goals than TFC in this tournament so far. Conversely, just the Columbus Crew and Real Salt Lake boast a better defensive record than the Revs in the competition, with both of those sides yet to concede.
In the battle between a relentless Reds offense and a stingy, well-organized Revs side comes an intriguing tactical match-up where both teams can secure top spot in Group C with a victory.
- The winner of Group C will face one of the three ‘wild-card’ teams (the top four teams finishing third in their group) in the round of 16, while the 2nd place team from Group C will face the second ranked side from Group A.
- The Reds currently have the joint top scorer in the tournament with Akinola’s five goals (tied with LAFC’s Diego Rossi) as well as the most assists by a single player through Pozuelo’s five in just two matches played.
- A point in this game would extend Toronto’s regular-season unbeaten run to 15 matches spanning across 353 days.
HOW TO WATCH
Set your alarms! Tune in at 9 am EST for kickoff on TSN 1 and 4. We’ll keep this going throughout kickoff so be sure to share your thoughts!
Group C is up for grabs tomorrow morning on TSN1/4#MLSIsBackTournament pic.twitter.com/737PrVFSxu— TSN Soccer (@TSNSoccer) July 21, 2020