Stick a fork in ‘em. Toronto FC fall 4-2 to Los Angeles Football Club, in an ugly, frustrating affair that might just spell doom for the 2018 season. Though the Reds arguably dominated proceedings, all it took was a few moments of sloppy defending, poor goalkeeping, or attacking magic to put the game out of reach.
The Reds did have plenty of chances, but couldn’t finish enough of them — either through poor final touches, or excellent keeping from Tyler Miller.
Montreal won tonight, and New England got a point. The Reds would need a miracle at this point to get into the playoffs.
That’s all we can say at this point.
90+ Toronto FC 2-4 LAFC — Ah, yeah that seems more like it. Carlos Vela strolls along the byline and casually flicks one over Clint Irwin at an absurd angle. Pretty much just toying with TFC at this point. Goodnight, y’all.
90+ Toronto FC 2-3 LAFC — Jozy Altidore, a man possessed, busts his way through the LAFC box to hammer one into the net. Might be a case of too little, too late, though...
83’ — Well, they’ve definitely had the chances. The Reds have had a few good looks at goal the last few minutes, all of them going out behind or getting snapped up by Tyler Miller (who’s had a very good game for the visitors).
76’ — That would’ve been absolutely special. Giovinco puts a screamer off the post from way outside the box. Not the first time he’s come close to doing something magical tonight.
74’ Toronto FC 1-3 LAFC — Well, it’s something. Jozy Altidore gets in all alone, steps around Tyler Miller, and scores on the open net. Runs it back to centre to try and start again.
hey look... we score one! pic.twitter.com/4fKsflPkIx— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) September 2, 2018
67’ — Jay Chapman comes in to replace Eriq Zavaleta. Looks like he’ll play right-back, and van der Wiel will tuck into the middle.
52’ — Pack it up. If Seba can’t score that, it’s over. Giovinco misses an absolute sitter near the penalty spot, shanking it wide for a goal kick. Just brutal.
50’ Toronto FC 0-3 LAFC — LEE NGUYEN? Really? Some more bad defending and some more bad goalkeeping from TFC means the Reds have pretty much signed off on 2018. Not sure there’s a way back.
47’ Toronto FC 0-2 LAFC — Damn. Gregory van der Wiel knocks it right into the path of Diego Rossi, who scores on the volley. Clint Irwin maybe could’ve done a bit better, but still a nice finish and some poor defending. That might be it for the Reds.
46’ — We’re back. This is one important half for TFC...
Those looking for a halftime stat...
TFC's team passing accuracy in that half was 90.5%. Six individual players over 90. #TFCLive— Charlie O’Connor-Clarke (@charliejclarke) September 2, 2018
HT — That’s the first frame. Not at all the scoreline the Reds went in hoping for. TFC might be unhappy to have to go to the interval now, though, since they looked to be picking up steam in the last five minutes.
Pretty much the whole season to play for in the second half.
38’ — Clint Irwin makes an enormous save on Marco Urena, who was in on goal completely alone. The TFC keeper comes well outside of the six-yard box to make a kick save and put it out for a corner.
34’ — Marky Delgado picks up a yellow card for sticking his leg into a challenge on Diego Rossi. Wasn’t a whole lot of contact, but it didn’t look great in real time.
27’ — Victor Vazquez is hurt again. At this point you have to wonder how much longer he’s going to be a core member of the squad, because injuries seem to plague him at every turn. Lucas Janson is coming in, let’s see what he can do.
22’ Toronto FC 0-1 LAFC — Ah. Just as TFC were looking dominant, a horrendous stroke of bad luck. Diego Rossi’s shot from distance ricochets off both Justin Morrow and Carlos Vela before finding its way into the net. Some cries for a handball on Vela, but really nothing doing. Just a rough go for TFC.
16’ — Holy crap Seba. The Atomic Ant takes a pass, flicks it up into the air, and tries to bicycle kick it past Tyler Miller. That would’ve been something special; it was pretty close, too. Miller puts it over the bar for a corner.
15’ — No real looks at goal yet, but TFC have barely given the visitors a sniff of possession.
1’ — Kickoff. TFC get the ball first, heading toward the north end.
The lineups are out! Toronto FC are going with an almost full-strength eleven, with Clint Irwin returning between the posts.
And LAFC do indeed start Beita:
Chivas USA Los Angeles Football Club will be at BMO Field on Saturday night. It’ll be the first time the expansion side has ever made the trip to Toronto, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few members of their congregation who know these stomping grounds.
There’s defender Dejan Jakovic, who has 41 caps with the Canadian men’s national team — certainly a few of them at BMO Field. MLS vets like Lee Nguyen and Jordan Harvey have been around the block in Toronto a number of times. Manager Bob Bradley hasn’t coached against the Reds before, but he’ll certainly be a familiar face to his son Michael on the other side of the pitch.
Then, of course, there’s Steven Beitashour. A fan favourite in Toronto, especially after his pancreas-shattering injury in the Canadian Championship final (and subsequent recovery), Beita was an integral part of the Reds’ treble-winning outfit. He was a model of consistency at right-back for TFC, and he’s sorely missed by a lot of fans. Beitashour has 22 appearances for LAFC this year, joint-second on the team.
There’s lots to like when looking at projected lineups for LAFC, unsurprisingly since they sit third in the Western Conference. They have two players with nine goals (Carlos Vela and Adama Diomande — who’s out injured), and another with eight (Diego Rossi). Their 50 goals this season is tied with the New York Red Bulls for second in the league — second to Atlanta United with 55.
The defence, however, is a little more troubling. LAFC’s 40 goals against is third-worst among playoff teams in MLS. That’s not to say they don’t have some strong defenders: Beitashour, of course, and Harvey make a pretty decent full-back duo. That said, their backline isn’t the most mobile in the league, as they aim more for stability than athleticism at the back. It also doesn’t help that they’ve just lost Laurent Ciman, who was captain before a surprise transfer to Dijon just days ago.
This will be a tough matchup for the Reds. However, with Wednesday’s lineup decisions looming large, this is pretty much a must-win home game for TFC. They absolutely cannot afford to lose more points here.
The club coming to town this weekend may look like a new one, but they’re not that new. I’m sure Marky Delgado remembers Chivas USA...
Team news: injuries & suspensions
Toronto FC: Auro (hamstring) remains sidelined. Chris Mavinga (also hamstring) may be available, and it sounds like he participated somewhat in training on Friday, but it’s unclear how close he really is to returning. It sounds like Victor Vazquez will be ready to go, and my best guess is that Sebastian Giovinco probably will be too.
Los Angeles FC: Goalkeeper Quillian Roberts (remember him?) is out long-term with a leg injury, and the same goes for Canadian rookie Mark-Anthony Kaye — :’( — who broke his ankle back in July. Forward Adama Diomande (adductor) and defender Danilo Silva (hamstring) will be sidelined as well.
How to watch
Match date/time: Saturday, September 1, 8 p.m. ET
TV channel: TSN 1 & 4
Live stream: TSN GO, ESPN+
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto)
This page will be updated with live in-game updates and highlights as they happen. And don’t forget to join the discussion in the comments section throughout the game!