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Preview: Toronto FC welcome New York Red Bulls for 2022 home opener

Over 23,000 are expected at BMO Field on Saturday with capacity limits being lifted in Ontario.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Toronto FC
Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo tries evading a challenge from Frankie Amaya of the New York Red Bulls during the last game between the two clubs in July 2021 at BMO Field.
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to the lakeshore! Toronto FC will take on the New York Red Bulls this Saturday at 2:00 pm EST in their second match of the 2022 MLS season. It will be TFC’s first game at BMO Field since their Canadian Championship semi-final win against Pacific FC on November 3, 2021.

After a 1-1 draw away to FC Dallas last weekend, the Reds return home to host the Red Bulls in an Eastern Conference matchup.

Getting that result in Frisco should give Bob Bradley and his men a pep in their step heading into Saturday’s contest. The team did well to earn a draw on the road against an opponent TFC have struggled against historically.

Coach Bradley will be pleased with both the result, and his squad’s overall performance, given that it was his first competitive match in charge of the club. Looking forward to Saturday, Bradley will want to see a similar effort from his team against the Red Bulls.

The on field chemistry will be a storyline to follow as so many on the TFC roster are playing together for the first time, following an offseason full of upheaval. Coach Bradley is still trying to make his mark on a squad with so many new faces. The performance against FC Dallas seemed to show that the players are fully behind Coach Bradley and his vision for the team moving forward.

Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, highlighted by many as one to watch for 2022, was fun to watch in matchday 1. The 17-year-old was deployed at right back, a position he is still getting used to, and earned a spot in the MLS Team of the Week for his efforts. He will likely start at right back again in the matchup with the Red Bulls.

The defence looked a lot more comfortable in the second half once Shane O’Neill entered the match in place of Chris Mavinga. Bradley noted after the game that this was in fact a tactical change.

TFC go into the match against the Red Bulls with no new injuries to report. Only Ayo Akinola remains out as he recovers from his ACL injury.

With that being said, TFC fans may see a couple of changes to the lineup that started the match against FC Dallas.

At the back, Shane O’Neill may start in place of Chris Mavinga. Additionally, Ifunanyachi Achara may get the nod over Deandre Kerr on the right wing. Achara looked confident in his ability and was very positive when in possession.

Expect Jesus Jimenez to get the nod up top. The Spaniard linked up well with his teammates in his competitive debut for the Reds, getting the assist for Jonathan Osorio’s equalizer.

Toronto’s last match against the Red Bulls was a 1-1 at home in Javier Perez’s third game as interim manager. Only 4 of the 11 TFC starters from that one are still at the club, so it is difficult to assess just how this next matchup will play out. This is a new look TFC, hoping to put the chaotic 2021 season in the rear-view.

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Toronto FC
Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono takes the ball from former New York Red Bulls forward Fabio during the July 2021 game at BMO Field.
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 campaign was good but not great for the Red Bulls, as they lost in the first round of the playoffs. Red Bulls fans will be hoping head coach Struber can turn one of the youngest sides in MLS into a more consistent and competitive outfit in his second full season as bench boss.

The Red Bulls come into this fixture off the back of an impressive 3-1 win in San Jose against the Earthquakes. Head coach Gerhard Struber has tempered expectations for his young side coming into the season, but he was likely left impressed with his team’s victory on the road.

TFC supporters can expect to see a similar Red Bulls lineup from their win over the Quakes. New Designated Player Luquinhas, as well as former Manchester United academy player Ashley Fletcher, will miss the match, as the pair deal with visa issues.

Patryk Klimala will likely start up top as the main goal threat. Young talented midfielder Caden Clark might get the start just behind Klimala, after tallying an assist off the bench against San Jose last weekend.

Speaking to the media on Friday, Toronto FC club captain Michael Bradley said in regard to the home-opener, “there aren’t words to describe how I excited I am.”

We’re just as excited as you Michael!


Game Notes

  • Toronto FC have one win in their last eight regular season meetings against the New York Red Bulls (1-5-2)
  • Jonathan Osorio is now just one goal away from reaching the 50-goal milestone for TFC

Predicted lineups:

Toronto FC: Bono; Marshall-Rutty, O’Neill, Salcedo, Shaffelburg; Bradley, Osorio, Pozuelo; Achara, Jimenez, Nelson

New York Red Bulls: Coronel; Long, S. Nealis, D. Nealis; Morgan, Amaya, Yearwood, Tolkin; Fernandez, Clark, Klimala


Match Details

Opponent: New York Red Bulls

Kick-off time: 2:00 pm EST

Watch: TSN

Stadium: BMO Field, Toronto, ON