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FT: Toronto FC 2-1 Club León—Match thread, preview, and how to watch

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Questions? Comments? Join us as Toronto FC take on Liga MX’s León in the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 second leg. Follow along all of the action tonight with Ryan Lindsay!

Leon v Toronto - Concacaf Champions League 2021 (Smith/Getty)

Live Match Thread

Well folks, how about that one, hey? Armasball is here and it means business. There are so many reasons to believe in this team moving forward.

Thank you so much for joining us for this one, on to the season opener this weekend!

FULL TIME— THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT! Toronto FC hold on to take this match 2-1 and advance 3-2 on aggregate to face Cruz Azul in the quarterfinals.
What a performance from this team. Everybody is bought in to what is happening at TFC and they were absolutely the better side in this match.

95’— AND THAT’S THE FINAL WHISTLE! TFC ADVANCES!!

94’— DeLeon breaks through and is knocked down in the box on a shoulder to shoulder challenge. TFC are still going for it.

93’— This Gonzalez-Singh partnership has been extremely solid all night, with Gonzalez coming up with a big stop again.

92’—Michael Bradley comes across with a big tackle to win TFC a throw. They are in no hurry to take it.

90’+— 5 minutes of added time. The commentary team hates it.

90’— HUGE save by Bono. A quick shot coming in from near the penalty spot, through Lareya’s legs but Bono gets down to it and hangs on.

88’— BIG stop by Luke Singh to keep a ball out of the TFC area. Toronto are taking on a lot of pressure now, but they’re refusing to give in.

85’— Morrow has Peruzza in the box but just can’t get his low cross past the Leon goalkeeper.

81’— Omar Gonzalez with a massive header to SURELY save a goal. Leon are throwing it all forward now.

80’— Goal for Leon. Fernando Navarro turns one in for the visitors. 2-1. (3-2 aggregate). A scrum ensues as Alex Bono **ahem** asserts himself in his goal after the ball goes in.

79’— things are getting a little chippy as the Leon players are growing frustrated.

76’— Ralph Priso looks right out of gas and he’s being brought off for Griffin Dorsey.

75’— Leon substitution- Nicolas Sosa ON for Santiago Colombatto

74’— A couple of quick TFC bookings to report over the last few minutes (I was looking for a tweet!) with Lareya and Priso both going into the book.

71’— GOAL TFC!! Justin Morrow gets slipped in behind the Leon defense by Ralph Priso and somehow, some way gets that one past the goalkeeper!! 2-0 TFC!!

70’— Moreno goes into the book for a late challenge on Marky Delgado.

67’— It’s looking like Morrow is going to line up on the left in front of Auro.

66’— Noble Okello is coming off (slowly but surely, he’s working that clock) for Justin Morrow. What a performance from that young man.

63’— CHANCE for TFC, Richie Lareya dips and doodles around the Leon defense and forces a good save out of the Leon keeper. The cutback for Okello was on there, a fact that brought a sound I’m not sure I’ve ever heard before out of Terry Dunfield on the broadcast.

60’— The flow bros who combined for the goal make way for Jordan Peruzza (his debut!) and Nick DeLeon.

Shaffelburg and Mullins OFF| Peruzza and DeLeon ON.

57’— TFC are clearly FEELIN’ themselves right now.

55’— GOAL!!! PATRICK MULLINS!! He converts a GREAT ball across the box from Jacob Shaffelburg and just had to tap, tap, tap it in! 1-0 TFC!!

53’— A little bit of a scramble at the back for TFC, but Luke Singh is able to eventually corral it out for a goal kick. He’s looking very good so far tonight.

51’— Terry Dunfield notes the lack of busses on the pitch tonight. You got that right, Terry!

50’— WHAT A CHANCE for Richie Lareya! He finds himself in acres of space in the Leon box, but an advancing keeper and an increasingly tight angle sees his shot turned away.

46’— Bono forced into a big save right off the bat. Corner to Leon... which leads to them putting the resulting chance almost out for a throw.

46’— We’re back underway!

HALF-TIME— TFC absolutely deserve to be ahead in this one, with Okello clearly scoring from an onside position. The Reds look energetic and more like likely to score first (or, again). The young fellas can feel proud of their showing in that half. They’re certainly picking up admirers.

44’— Mark Delgado goes into the book for a foul? His complaining? Regardless, he picks up a yellow.

40’— Chance for Leon as Meneses fires one in, but Omar Gonzalez gets in the way and that one loops over Bono’s net. The resulting corner comes to nothing for Leon.

38’— Auro comes across the TFC area to cut out a chance and then Luke Singh stands TALL to block a secondary opportunity. He’s looking mature beyond his years back there.

36’— Bono called into action, but does well to cover that one up easily off of a quick touch in his area.

32’— Bradley gets called for a foul that I certainly didn’t see. If I speak...

28’— GOA— what?! Okello puts away an open header that is called back for offside. He looked to be WELL onside on that one.

25’— Mark Delgado is all over this match. The TFC midfield look more than up for it tonight.

21’— Noble Okello plays a wonderful ball from the wing through to Bradley at the top of the box, who gets his wires crossed and puts a through-ball out for a goal kick.

18’— There’s no parking the bus tonight. TFC are getting right after Leon so far.

16’— WHAT A CHANCE for Noble Okello! He gets two opportunities at it inside the Leon area after great work from Delgado and Bradley. Toronto are really showing their intent here.

14’— GREAT ball from Mark “Don’t Call Me Marky” Delgado to play Mullins through, but the Leon defender does enough to snuff out the chance.

12’— CHANCE for TFC - corner to TFC, Bradley whips it in to Singh who puts his free header at the top of the six yard box wide! He knows that he should have done better with that.

10’— A pretty hopeful penalty should for Leon. Terry Dunfield hates it and agrees with the no call.

7’— Lareya wins it well down the left side and attacks, but his cutback is intercepted. There were options! Leon go right down the other way and win a corner.

5’— the boys are looking energetic so far, with the midfield stepping into space to press and Mullins zipping around up front.

3’ — easy early save for Bono as Leon look to cut between the centrebacks.

6:06 pm EST— Leon kick this one off! REAL low camera angle here.

6:03 pm EST— HERE WE GO. The players are coming out onto the pitch in those fantastic A41 kits. We’re moments away, grab your drinks and snacks!

5:58 pm EST— Oli Platt and Kristian Jack are highlighting some of the weaknesses in the Leon team: their aggressive defense can be pulled around. TFC showed an ability to pull them into the middle of the park and then expose their shape by playing down the wings like we saw Shaffelburg find success with early. The other is to press the play at the back. TFC will look to put pressure on the centrebacks playing the ball like we saw with the goal Gallardo’s pressure created.

5:50 pm EST— Kristian Jack called last match a “victory for the collective”. Terry Dunfield highlighted the performances of TFC’s young players that will “build trust”. Dunfield said that Okello showed “moments of brilliance” and that Priso played safe and made consistent plays.

5:45 pm EST— It’s really such a treat to see KJ break down these matches. He’s really singing the praises of Auro’s work from that left back position in the last match. Defensive shape and solidity is very key to the press Armas rolled out last match.

5:37 pm EST— Here’s some help to keep track of that aggregate score math:

5:32 pm EST— A reminder that the match has changed locations. This one moves back to the familiar ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. DISNEY!

5:29 pm EST— That injury bug continues to bite TFC, with Eriq Zavaleta the latest casualty. Luke Singh will draw in for him tonight. BIG night for the young defender.

5:27 pm EST— We have plenty of great pregame content up on our site, so if you’re looking to get into everything TFC in preparation for this one, make sure you go and check that out! We have you covered!
And, if you’re looking to try your hand at some predictions, you can leave your final score guesses in our prediction league—the winner will take home a small prize related to Toronto FC!

5:15 pm EST— Hello out there, TFC fans! Matchday is here again! Finally! Thank you all for joining us here for what should be quite a match!
How are we all feeling? Nervous? excited? Our boys in red have that ever important away goal in this one and I am excited to see how they build on that. Will we see TFC come out flying like they did in leg 1? As my remote spin instructor yelled at me this morning “Later can quickly turn to never!” so let’s see if my instructor Chris’ advice will echo the game-plan for tonight and Toronto gets after it right from the jump, or if it just got a sweaty me through an super fun uphill climb (thanks, instructor Chris).

Kickoff is at 6 pm ET, but I’ll be with you through the run up to that first whistle.

I’m excited to be here and to hear from you all in the chat! COME ON YOU REDS!


Starting Lineups

Here’s how Toronto FC will line up for the second time under Chris Armas:

And here’s how the visitors will line up vs. TFC:


Match Preview (via Aasim Hashim)

TORONTO, Canada—Toronto FC’s gutsy 1-1 draw vs. Club León provided the Reds with a crucial away goal heading into the second leg at Osceola Heritage Park in Florida and has set the stage for Wednesday’s clash against the Liga MX giants with all to play for.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 pm EST and can be streamed on OneSoccer.

The Chris Armas era at Toronto FC started brightly last week. It was clear right from the jump how the Reds would play under their new head coach, and it was clear that every player on the roster appeared to have bought into a new system.

Implementing a new system is never easy, but to do so while the club had to abruptly halt their preseason preparations due to a COVID-19 outbreak, and then prepare for a move down to Florida—where the team is going to be playing their home matches for at least part of the year–is not an easy feat. Armas and his coaching staff should be commended for getting the team ready in the manner that they did.

Last week’s draw was all the more impressive given the numerous challenges that the club has faced in preparing for this season and the number of key players that were unavailable through injuries. The reigning MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo, midfielder Jonathan Osorio, and defender Chris Mavinga were just three of the 10 (!) players that were unavailable last week.

Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s match, TFC head coach Chris Armas provided an injury update, and while the Reds may be getting back some players, it’s increasingly likely that Armas will be without the services of Pozuelo once again. The head coach was a bit more optimistic about some of his other senior players, including striker Jozy Altidore who left last week’s match with a leg injury.

The potential return of Jonathan Osorio who Armas has categorized as “day-to-day” along with Altidore could prove to be a big boost for the Reds.

In the absence of the aforementioned key players, Armas had to rely on a lot of youngsters last week and the youngsters made a great case for the “play your kids” camp. Albeit out of necessity, the way many of the youngsters stepped up to the challenge against Club León showed TFC fans the depth that the club has, and speaking post-match, Armas once again reiterated how young players are very much a part of his plan.

“Bill Manning and Ali Curtis have done a really nice job bringing young players along and I’ve said that I’m going to play young players—look how many played tonight. It’s a testament to the club and the leadership...”

One of TFC’s veterans, Omar Gonzalez echoed the coach’s sentiment post-match as well.

“Our young guys – Noble (Okello), Luke Singh who debuted tonight, (Jacob) Shaffelburg, Erickson (Gallardo), these guys didn’t get a lot of minutes last year and here they are playing in the first game, in a very important game for us. I’m just very proud of those guys,” Gonzalez said. “They’re growing more and more, they’re stepping up and as a team you need to have everyone step up and tonight they did that. I’m very happy for them and now we need to do it again next week.”

With a busy week for the club, the Reds cancelled their preseason friendly with Inter Miami on Sunday due to scheduling conflicts. The second leg against Club León and the MLS season opener just three days after that, against the Montreal Impact, means Armas will rely on his younger players once again. Given last week’s performance, the Reds head coach will not be hesitant to play his youngsters and he’s stated his intentions to do just that.

León, meanwhile, have averaged just over a goal a game so far this season, with Ecuadorian winger Ángel Mena leading the way with five league goals to his name, including the winner against Toluca last weekend.

The Reds will catch a break however as Costa Rican International and former Arsenal forward Joel Campbell, looks to be unavailable due to the United States’ quarantine policy. Campbell was a threat all night in leg one and created all sorts of problems for Armas’ side.

This will be the second meeting in history between TFC and León, with last Wednesday’s encounter being the first time these two sides met, but based on Toronto’s record against Mexican teams, Armas’ men will need to flip the script if they are to overcome their upcoming opponent.

In 16 competitive matches against Mexican opposition, TFC has only won three of them. León has never played against a Canadian side before, but their only tie against an MLS team ended in a 3-2 defeat on aggregate to LAFC in last season’s Round of 16.

Wednesday is still going to require another gritty performance from the club if they are to advance. A win against Club León could set the table for the opening part of the season. It would be a huge confidence boost should the Reds advance and would be an impressive first hurdle jumped for the club’s new head coach.


How to Watch

Who: Club León vs. Toronto FC
When: Wednesday, April 14, 6:00 PM ET
Where: Osceola Heritage Park, Florida
Streaming: OneSoccer