TORONTO, Ont. - Progress this season was never going to be linear. Heading into 2022, the Reds knew that they would have to deal with bumps along the way, and Bob Bradley’s men currently find themselves in one of those rough patches. After a promising March and most of April, the Reds have failed to pick up points in their last two outings, and looked sloppy in their defeat to FC Cincinnati on the weekend.
The good news for Toronto is that they will have their chance at revenge against FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night in Ohio. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm EST and can be watched on TSN.
Head coach Bob Bradley was critical of his side’s performance on the weekend, acknowledging the pace at which the Reds played was too slow, and the manner in which his side conceded both goals were poor and avoidable.
TFC now find themselves at the bottom of the table in the goals against category, having conceded 19 - only San Jose has conceded more through nine matches (23). Bradley and his coaching staff will have just a couple of days to rectify the weekend’s errors, but as the club and fans know, this squad is still a work in progress.
While the Reds did welcome Ayo Akinola back from a lengthy injury layoff, the club have added defenders Chris Mavinga (Lower Body) and Carlos Salcedo (Health and Safety Protocols) along with forward Ifunanyachi Achara (Health and Safety Protocols) to its injury list.
Apart from the new additions, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty and Noble Okello continue to be ruled out, while Jacob Shaffelburg is listed as questionable.
The Reds will hope that Mavinga, Salcedo and Achara, along with Shaffelburg, are not out for too long, but for the purposes of this week, TFC’s squad depth - especially on the defensive end - will be tested with away matches in Cincinnati and Vancouver between Wednesday and Sunday.
For Cincinnati, the win in Toronto over the weekend was the club’s third of the regular season, and they now find themselves just one point behind the Reds in the standings. While no one is watching the table too critically this early in the season, Cincinnati will be motivated to pick up six points on the Reds in quick succession, with this being the second and last time these clubs meet this season.
Home field advantage for the Orange and Blue has not come to fruition so far as the club has managed to pick up just the one win this season in four matches at TQL Stadium. Head coach Pat Noonan will be hoping his squad can keep their momentum from Saturday going and reverse the trend in front of their home fans.
The Reds got a first-hand look at the Orange and Blue’s most important player on the weekend when Luciano Acosta found the back of the net to make it 2-0. Acosta’s contributions on the weekend earned him a spot on last week’s MLS Team of the Week. The Argentine also leads the league in key passes this season, and will once again be the focus of Cincinnati’s attack on Wednesday night.
Unlike his Toronto counterpart, Noonan will have been pleased not to have added anyone to the injury list ahead of Wednesday’s matchup. While the club are still without their number one ‘keeper in Alec Kann, who started the first seven games for the Orange and Blue, Roman Celentano, who has been deputized in Kann’s absence, has indeed stepped up.
The Reds hold a slight advantage in the head-to-head matchup between the two clubs, having won four of seven games (three losses). While the Reds had taken advantage of the MLS newcomers, winning the first three matches between the two sides, the Orange and Blue have now won three of the last four matches, including Saturday’s 2-1 victory.
- Striker Jesus Jimenez scored his seventh goal of the season in the Reds loss on the weekend. It’s all the more impressive, given Jimenez has scored seven goals with just nine shots on target.
- Jonathan Osorio has now made 301 appearances for the Reds, the most in club history. The next closest is Michael Bradley with 262 appearances.
Opponent: FC Cincinnati
Stadium: TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
Time: 7:30 pm EST