TORONTO, Ont. - It’s been a busy week in the TFC camp, with new signings officially joining the squad, departures of key players along, and some more rumoured incomings. Bill Manning, Bob Bradley, and the brain trust at BMO Field intend to make full use of the current transfer window to overhaul the current Reds team.
While personnel decisions are still being made, the Reds are preparing for their tilt against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night at BMO Field. It’s the final match of this four-game homestand, in which the Reds have lost three, before they head out on the road for their next two fixtures.
Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 and can be watched on TSN.
The TFC faithful were hoping that Saturday would mark the beginning of a new era, with Lorezo Insigne finally taking the pitch at BMO Field. However, a calf injury Insigne picked up while still in Europe looks to be keeping the Reds high-profile signing out of the squad, at least for now. Bradley has indicated that a realistic timeline for the Italian’s debut, at least in front of the BMO faithful, looks to be July 23rd against Charlotte FC.
With the departure of midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo earlier this week, and Carlos Salcedo not present at training on Friday, how the Reds will line up on Saturday night remains to be seen. Bradley will have at least one new signing to count on, however. Dominco Criscito, who was officially introduced earlier this week, is in line to make his debut in a Reds shirt this weekend, and the 35-year-old Italian will have to be ready to use all of his experience if he is to be put straight into the starting lineup.
The good news for the Reds is that their opposition on Saturday are having a season to forget. Currently sitting in 13th and two points from the bottom of the Western Conference standings, San Jose will be hoping to get a positive result for the second week in a row.
In their most recent outing, the Quakes were able to snap a four-match winless streak after a 2-1 win against the Chicago Fire - the first time they were able to collect all three points since the middle of May. Between their two wins, San Jose collected two points through two draws and were beaten twice.
San Jose have made a head coaching change since the start of the season, with the club having parted ways with Matias Almeyda and appointing Alex Covelo as interim head coach. Since taking over for Almeyda, Covelo has overseen 10 matches and has helped the Club pick up all four wins on the season.
Covelo will be looking to add a fifth win to tally, but on the road, the Quakes have failed to pick up any wins this season. Through eight away matches this season, the Quakes have drawn two and lost six.
Similar to the Reds, defence has been a major problem for San Jose this season. The Reds and Quakes make up the bottom of the MLS standings in goals against. The Reds have conceded 34 while San Jose has conceded 35 goals.
The parallels between these clubs don’t end there. Both teams are heavily reliant on their strikers to be their main source. For the Reds, it’s Jesus Jimenez, with eight goals in 17 games, while for the Quakes, Jeremy Ebobisse leads his squad with nine goals in 17 games. Secondary scoring in this game is going to be crucial for either team to pick up all three points.
These two clubs have matched up evenly since the Reds have entered the MLS. In their all-time matchups, the Quakes hold a slight advantage with a 6-6-5 record against Toronto. In their most recent matchup in 2020, it was the Quakes’ 95-minute goal that stole a point for San Jose.
The Reds have failed to pick up a win against San Jose in their last three outings, with two ties and a loss at BMO Field back in 2019. The last Reds victory in this fixture was in 2017, when TFC cruised to a 4-0 (Victor Vazquez, Jozy Altidore x2, Jonathan Osorio) win, against a short-handed San Jose side.
Opponent: San Jose Earthquakes
Stadium: BMO Field, Toronto, ON
Kick-off: 7:30 PM