The conclusion of the 2021 MLS season is finally upon us in Toronto as Javier Perez and co. gear up to take on D.C. United in the 34th and final matchday of the campaign. In a game that will undoubtedly prove emotional for one main reason, victory will be the only thing on the minds of the players as they prepare to send off one of the greatest defenders in MLS history.
With the Canadian Championship final venue still to be determined, fans could be in attendance at BMO Field for one last time this calendar year as a rollercoaster of a league campaign comes to end for Toronto FC.
Kickoff is set for 3:30 pm EST with the game available to watch live on TSN.
Despite three hard-fought draws in their last three league games, TFC are winless in their last five MLS clashes, with their last victory coming on October 3rd against the Chicago Fire. Nonetheless, Toronto did record the win they needed most against Pacific FC in the CanChamp semifinals, with the Reds running out 2-1 winners.
With domestic silverware still on the cards, fans have also loved to see the resurgence of Jozy Altidore, who has scored three goals in his last four games in all competitions. He may be used wisely against on Sunday, though, as Perez will want him hungry for more against CF Montreal in the CanChamp final.
Moreover, TFC’s young core will likely feature prominently on Sunday in a bid to further establish themselves in the first team. The likes of Jordan Perruzza, who bagged his first-career goal with a late equalizer against Atlanta United, and Jayden Nelson, who has featured in his side’s three most recent fixtures, look set for more minutes against D.C.
Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty has also been a staple in the TFC squad in recent weeks, with the Canadian starlet having featured in seven consecutive matches since the 3-2 home win over FC Cincinnati at the end of September.
Along with the kids, there is no doubt that Justin Morrow will feature for the final time in MLS. The club legend, who won the MLS Cup with TFC in 2017, might even wear the captain’s armband, which would be an absolute delight for anyone to see.
In other team news, Yeferson Soteldo is unavailable once again, but Perez claimed that the Venezuelan could return to the side for the CanChamp final. In addition to Soteldo, Alex Bono (lower body) and Omar Gonzalez (calf) have also been ruled out.
Chris Mavinga is back after missing the trip to Atlanta, but Auro Jr. is questionable. Ayo Akinola, Ralph Priso and Tsubasa Endoh remain long-term absentees.
Toronto and D.C. played once before this season, but we don’t need to talk much about that one right?
In their last five meetings, TFC has won only once, but fans will have fond memories of what a game that was. Following a last minute D.C. equalizer from Lucas Rodriguez in normal time, Toronto ran riot in extra time as goals from Richie Laryea, Jonathan Osorio (x2) and Nick DeLeon steered the Reds to an unforgettable 5-1 win that saw them advance to the 2019 conference semifinals.
Stalemates have been the theme of this matchup in recent history, though, as six of the last nine fixtures between Toronto and D.C. have finished all square.
There’s still a trophy left to play for this season, but for now, Toronto FC players, staff and fans will be out in full force on Sunday to celebrate the end of one of MLS’s greatest sportspeople on and off the pitch, Justin Morrow.
Toronto FC: Westberg; Laryea, Bradley, Mavinga, Morrow; Delgado, Okello, Nelson; DeLeon; Mullins, Altidore
D.C. United: Hamid; Najar, Birnbaum, Pines; Odoi-Atsem, Martins, Moreno, Perez; Arriola, Kamara, Skundrich