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Preview: Toronto FC aims to end winless streak against Charlotte

TFC are searching for their first victory in six matches.

Kosi Thompson controls possession on the right during Toronto FC’s last home match against San Jose Earthquakes.
Sean Pollock/Waking The Red

Toronto FC will face Charlotte FC on Saturday night at BMO Field.

TFC is hoping to put their recent results in the rearview in what will be their first-ever match against expansion side Charlotte FC.

The Reds return to BMO Field after dropping their last two away fixtures in Chicago, and most recently Montreal. Toronto were held scoreless in both outings.

Bob Bradley should feel confident that his side will find some goals in this one though, as a pair of Italian wingers are set to make their debuts on their new home turf.

After dealing with calf discomfort upon his arrival in Toronto, Lorenzo Insigne is set to make his long-awaited debut in front of what should be close to a sellout crowd. With a cup final in Vancouver on Tuesday, Bradley may opt to start the Italian international on the bench to make sure he is at 100% for the Canadian Championship match.

Federico Bernardeschi will also likely make his first appearance for TFC after participating in group training throughout the week.

Though this sentiment feels like it’s been echoed for a few weeks now, this next match really does feel like a must win. After picking up just one point in their last three games at BMO Field, the team’s form at home will have to improve if there is to be any hope of a playoff push.

It will have to be a miraculous effort from here on in, but there is still time to turn the season around, especially with two high-quality designated players now available for selection.

Hoping to spoil the first match of the “Italian era” will be the newest side in MLS, Charlotte FC.

The Queen City outfit are just one point behind FC Cincinnati who occupy the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

In what was expected to be a tough season for the new team on the block, Charlotte have done well to keep themselves in the middle of what is a tight playoff race. Interim head coach Christian Lattanzio has been able to keep his team afloat, holding a record of 3-3-1 since his first match in charge, a surprising 2-0 win against New York Red Bulls.

Though the Crown lost their last game in MLS action against Inter Miami, the North Carolina side have a more recent result to be proud of.

The MLS newbies also defeated Chelsea FC on penalties in a friendly at Bank of America Stadium on Wednesday. Daniel Rios equalized from the spot in the 92nd minute to cancel out Christian Pulisic’s goal in the first half. Kamil Jozwiak eventually netted the winning spot kick to give his team the big win. Though it was just a friendly it came against Premier League opposition, thus likely giving the team a boost of confidence heading into the weekend.

Game Notes

  • Toronto FC is 6-6-2 in their first MLS match against an expansion side
  • Toronto FC has been shutout in their last two matches

Predicted Lineups

Toronto FC: Bono; Criscito, O’Neill, MacNaughton, Thompson; Osorio, Bradley, Kaye, Nelson, Jimenez, Bernardeschi

Charlotte FC: Kahlina; Fuchs, Mora, Corujo, Lindsey; Alcivar; Bender, Ortiz, Bronico, Rios; Swiderski

Match Details

Opponent: Charlotte FC

Kickoff time: 7:30 p.m. ET

Watch: TSN

Stadium: BMO Field, Toronto, Ont.