Live Match Thread
FT: Toronto FC 1-1 Nashville SC
90+4—Last-second penalty shout for Toronto FC as Richie Laryea was taken down int he box. That looked like a penalty. No call from the referee, however.
83’—BIG SAVE from Alex Bono, who sharply comes off his line to take away a chance from Mukhtar.
77’—Dom Dwyer checks into the game for Jozy Altidore. Not a great game for Jozy, imo.
75’—Half-chance for Nashville off the counter attack. I thought that was offside.
71’—BMO Field has come alive with the thunder clap! Let’s see if the players respond, give the fans something to cheer for.
67’—Soteldo with another great run forward, draws a free kick. He’s creating all of Toronto FC’s offence right now.
58’—CHANCE! Golden opportunity for Hany Mukhtar, who has a wide-open header from about six yards out, but he hits it down and eventually over the crossbar. TFC got away with one there.
57’—Jonathan Osorio, who just returned from the Gold Cup with Canada, has been summoned by Javier Perez. He’s going to replace Ralph Priso.
46’—We’re back. Entertaining 45 minutes of football coming up!
HT: Toronto FC 1-1 Nashville SC
45+2—Good chance before the halftime whistle for the Reds, as a long-range shot from Delgado is denied.
45’—Alex Bono with a heroic save! He stretches his leg back to deny a Nashville header, as the ball deflects up over the net for a corner. What a stop.
40’—GOAL! Nashville ties the game, off a long throw-in that sneaks into the near post somehow. Damn.
21’—GOOOOAAALLLLL!! Toronto FC 1-0 Nashville SC. Omar Gonzalez with the header off a free kick which was taken quickly by Yeferson Soteldo. What a heads-up play from the Venezuelan. Wow.
19’—Big matchup to watch tonight is Canadian international Alistair Johnston at RB for Nashville up against Yeferson Soteldo.
16’—Since that last update, however, it’s been all Nashville. Chris Mavinga and Omar Gonzalez with some crucial interceptions to keep things scoreless.
12’—A very solid start to this match from Toronto FC. It’s always going to be tough to break down a very stingy Nashville defence, but the Reds look like they’re the better team early on.
6’—Soteldo is dancing again. I said this on Waking the Red Weekly this week: he’s already the best player in Major League Soccer.
1’—We’re off! Toronto FC start the match in the Unity Kit, going from south to north. Nashville kicks off first.
7:34 pm ET—With Pozuelo out of the lineup, Toronto FC are going with a 5-3-2 at the back for the first time in the Javier Perez era. Let’s see how this works out. Jozy Altidore is also making his first start since returning.
7:29 pm ET—The biggest news tonight is obviously the surprising absence of the reigning MVP, Alejandro Pozuelo, from the squad. Here’s what Javier Perez relayed to TSN prior to the match:
Javier Perez tells TSN that Alejandro Pozuelo's absence from the lineup tonight is precautionary. He was feeling some discomfort in his leg, and the team elected to be cautious with their superstar. The injury does not appear to be serious.— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) August 1, 2021
7:25 pm ET—Let’s do this! Welcome back to another live match thread, thank you all once again for joining along for the fun — and hope everyone is having a very nice long weekend! The Reds are back at BMO Field to take on Nashville SC, a team that’s unbeaten in their last seven games. TFC, however, are also riding in on a high, undefeated their past four. Does something give tonight? Let’s hope that it’s in the Reds’ favour!
Toronto FC starting XI vs. Nashville SC includes no Alejandro Pozuelo this evening. TFC says it’s precautionary.
Starting XI for the Reds:— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) August 1, 2021
Bono; Laryea, Zavaleta, Gonzalez, Mavinga, Morrow; Bradley, Priso, Delgado; Soteldo, Altidore pic.twitter.com/12heVltTee
Here’s how Nashville roll out at BMO Field:
Match Preview (via Aasim Hashim)
TORONTO, Ont. - A busy stretch in the back end of July earned the Reds a well deserved break.The Reds will now kick-off August looking for their first ever win against Nashville SC. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 PM EST and can be watched on TSN.
Toronto will be coming into this game with a lot of confidence as the Reds picked up their second win in their last four matches. Since taking over from former head coach, Chris Armas, Interim Head Coach Javier Perez has been able to steady the ship and TFC have picked up two wins and two draws in four matches, collecting more points in this stretch alone under Perez than they did in 11 matches under Armas.
With the Concacaf Gold Cup winding down, Perez will have some reinforcements on their way back. While Kemar Lawrence will likely be back in contention for a starting role, following Jamaica’s elimination at the Gold Cup, the Reds may still want to wait on the Canadians away on international duty. With Thursday’s heartbreaking loss for the Canadians, Jonathan Osorio and Richie Laryea will be back with the squad but Perez will all but likely choose to give the Canadian internationals some much needed rest after logging heavy minutes right up to the semi-finals.
This is also the first time this season that the Reds are not missing any players through injury. Ifunaychi Achara who has been out since last season, has rejoined the squad and is in full training. Perez is keen on using the Nigerian striker, but speaking pre-match suggested he may get some minutes with TFC II before returning to first team action.
Perez says that it's possible that Achara, who has been training with the first-team for weeks, just needs playing time now, and may get some playing time with Toronto FC II, but 'ideally' he returns to the first team.— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) July 30, 2021
Nashville SC will be equally confident heading into their matchup with Toronto. The Tennessee club sit in second place in the Eastern Conference and currently are on a seven game unbeaten run, with their last loss coming against the New York Red Bulls on June 18th. In their most recent match, Nashville walked away with all three points thanks to a 3-0 win over FC Cincinnati.
Through 15 games this season, Nashville have six wins, and a joint league-high eight draws (Houston and Atlanta are the other two clubs that have eight draws). Nashville opened their season with three consecutive draws, and four in their first five matches. While the draws may have been frustrating in the early part of the season, it has certainly set a good foundation for the club midway through the season.
The club has made a stark improvement to the offensive side of their game in 2021. Through 15 games, Nashville has scored 24 goals this season, matching their goal scoring record for the entirety of last season. Leading the way for Nashville’s offence has been midfielder Hany Mukhtar who leads the club with seven goals, and striker C.J. Sapong who has five goals and three assists this season.
Toronto’s offence will have to be clicking right from the start if they want to get past the Nashville defence. To go along with their new found offense, Nashville have also shown that they can defend just as well, conceding 14 times in 15 games, the third best goals against record in the league, behind Columbus and Seattle. Nashville ‘keeper Joe Willis, who has started all 15 games for his club, has been a strong part of this as the American has picked up a league best seven clean sheets this season.
Nashville will be without defender Walker Zimmerman, who picked up an injury while on international duty while with the USA at the Gold Cup. The American international had appeared in 10 matches for Nashville before departing for international duty. Panamanian international Anibal Godoy who suffered a hamstring injury prior to the start of the Gold Cup, will be a game time decision according to Nashville Head Coach, Gary Smith.
While not injured, Gary Smith will likely not be able to rely on Canadian defender, Allistair Johnston. Johnston appeared in all five Canadian matches and went the distance in four of the five matches at the Gold Cup, and will likely not feature for Nashville. Johnston had appeared in 11 matches prior to being called up to the Canadian camp.
These two clubs don’t have a lot of history playing each other, matching up on just two occasions, but Nashville has been able to pick up wins in both matchups. In their very first matchup, Nashville were 1-0 victors in the MLS Playoffs, and in their most recent matchup on June 23rd, the Tennessee club picked up all three points, which started their current seven game unbeaten run.
On that night, the Reds held the lead twice, including through a 81st minute Noble Okello strike, but two goals by substitute Luke Haakenson seven minutes apart, in the 83rd minute and in injury time gave Nashville all three points. As has been well discussed, this Reds team has looked markedly different than the team that took the field in Nashville.
The Reds have been able to slowly turn things around in July, and with three months left in the regular season, Javier Perez and his squad will know the importance this month brings if they want any shot at the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Opponent: Nashville SC
Kick-off time: 7:30 PM EST
Stadium: BMO Field, Toronto, ON
Watch: TSN1, TSN4