TORONTO, Canada—Toronto FC survived a couple false starts on their travel to Florida and a couple more false starts on their opening kickoff in the tournament. After three tight group matches, TFC stood atop Group C and have drawn New York City FC in the Round of 16.
The hot weather and the early kick offs required a full team effort from all 16 Reds each match. Through the group stage of the tournament, two of those Reds have made their mark among the league’s best.
Ayo Akinola is joint-top goal scorer in the tournament, thus far, and is the only player in the league with multiple multi-goal matches.
The Wizard Alejandro Pozuelo sits at the head of the helpers’ table, assisting on the first five of his team’s six goals in the tournament.
Akinola also has almost double the shots on target of any other player in the competition.
Now that the group stage has come to a close, it has ensured that Toronto FC will go a full calendar year without an MLS regular season loss (knockout stage matches in this tournament do not count towards league standings). Their last regular season loss was August 3, 2019 at New York Red Bulls.
But their 15 match unbeaten streak, as is the case at times, contains more draws than wins. That fact could easily be reversed if it were not for FOUR late leads blown within this streak alone.
Of course, the regular season streak conveniently omits some blemishes. But when we open up the same calendar to all competitions, we may see two Cup Final losses, but we also double the wins (during both successful runs to the Cup Finals).
Toronto have lost ONLY those two Cup Finals in their past 23 matches.
A note to keep your eye on Sunday night: Sean Johnson has allowed five penalty goals against Toronto—more than any other keeper—and personally tied with the Vancouver Whitecaps (5) for most on the Reds’ chart.
We may not see a return of Alex Bono in this tournament, but he provided the club with their only clean sheet of the tournament vs. New England. The effort put him one off the club record for clean sheets, in one less start.