Toronto welcomes a team from the Bay Area to town (hopefully not for the last time this week) as the San Jose Earthquakes visit BMO Field. The jam-packed month of May started off well for Toronto FC, but the fixture congestion quickly caught up to them. If the Reds hope to right the ship and find the back of the net on Sunday, they’ll need to do it without the help of their First Mate — Alejandro Pozuelo — who is suspended after collecting a pair of yellows in Sandy, Utah.
Chris Wondolowski is a familiar name for anyone who has followed the league through the years, and closer to home, has been a TFC killer. Wondo became the all-time leading scoring in MLS last weekend with an absurd four-goal effort vs. Chicago. Don’t be surprised if he’s able to make an encore at BMO this weekend — a feat from which he’s rarely shied away. Wondo is a goal away from joining the 10-goal club vs. Toronto FC, and a brace away from taking the outright lead.
The Pozuelo-less attack, which will hopefully feature talisman Jozy Altidore, will be looking to rekindle the scoring touch that led to so many valuable points in the first full month of the season. Over the past four league matches, the Reds have managed just one goal — a Pozuelo direct free kick from just outside the box. That means that Toronto has gone four full league matches without a goal from the run of play. It has been almost NINE years since Toronto has gone five league matches without a goal from open play. That stretch (from late 2010) did feature a brace from Dwayne DeRosario, both of which were second-touch goals off a flicked free kick.
LEAKING AT THE BACK
As quiet as things have become at the front of the Toronto formation, things seem even more dire at the back. Sunday will mark the 15th match for TFC this season (12 league matches plus the CONCACAF Champions League tie with Independiente). Through the first 14 matches of the season, Toronto has allowed 25 goals against. That 1.79 goals per match is the highest rate in the club’s history; a history that isn’t without notable defensive struggles. It is also worth noting that the 1.64 goals for per match is a lower percentage than any of the four previous Altidore/Giovinco seasons.
AND THEN THERE WAS ONE
An update on something I’ve mentioned previously — players who’ve contested TFC in each of their 13 seasons. Jeff Larentowicz did come on as an 86’ sub in his team’s 2-0 victory in Atlanta, and he joined Chad Marshall in the club. Last weekend Kyle Beckerman was not selected due to a hamstring injury, so failing a Toronto FC / Real Salt Lake MLS Cup Final, his run has come to an end. And with this week’s news that Chad Marshall has ended his illustrious MLS career, Larentowicz could have a chance next season to be the first and last man to contest the first 14.