TFC Republic Weekly: April 1-7

Toronto FC continues life without Lorenzo Insigne this week when it pays a visit to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

TFC Republic Weekly: April 1-7

Welcome to the latest edition of TFC Republic Weekly, an email newsletter that will land in the inbox of both paid subscribers and free members of TFC Republic every Monday. 

This newsletter will look at what's in store over the next seven days for Toronto FC and offer a glimpse of what to expect at TFC Republic in the coming days. 

So, without further ado... 

Toronto FC humbled at home by Sporting Kansas City

Mired in an injury crisis that has claimed Lorenzo Insigne, TFC looked far from their best as they dropped a 3-1 decision against Sporting Kansas City on Saturday at BMO Field. 

Goalkeeper Luka Gavran was sensational in making six saves in the first half, but that wasn’t enough to prevent Toronto (3-2-1) from suffering its second loss of the campaign after conceding three times in the final 45 minutes.  

How the Reds could have used a dash of Insigne’s magic. The Italian has scored two highlight-reel winners this season, but he was reduced to a spectator for this match after injuring his hamstring the previous week.

Not surprisingly, TFC huffed and puffed against Kansas City without showing any genuine quality in the final third of the pitch, their final touch and pass in and around the box routinely letting them down. Toronto registered just two shots on target, compared to 10 for Kansas City, and this game marked the first time this season that John Herdman's side was outclassed by some distance.

TFC had previously recorded four clean sheets and had only conceded twice in their first five games. With Insigne out for the foreseeable future and several other key starters dealing with injuries, this looks like the beginning of a difficult stretch for Toronto.

Toronto FC vs. Sporting Kansas City: 3 takeaways
TFC wasted a fantastic performance by Luka Gavran in Sunday’s loss as the Reds’ attack never got out of second gear.

Lorenzo Insigne out for six weeks with hamstring injury

John Herdman confirmed last Friday that Lorenzo Insigne will be sidelined for six weeks with a hamstring injury, a development that deals a crushing blow to a team in the midst of a mounting injury crisis.

Herdman revealed that Insigne had an MRI earlier in the week in Toronto and that medical professionals in Europe were also consulted about his condition.

"We've had information [and] MRIs have been studied by people from Italy, England and Canada, and unfortunately, the hamstring is probably a six-week process. So, again with Lorenzo, we'll be doing everything we can to get him back as quickly as we can and hopefully ahead of schedule. It'll be a big loss for us," Herdman said.

Herdman called it a "tricky" injury, explaining that it's "a little bit close to the head of the muscle."

"Huge blow for us. Sometimes hamstrings can be two to four [weeks], but the location of it makes it really tricky. You have to be really careful with this one. It's why we brought the additional expertise in people from the [Premier League] that have worked on this type of injury. It's a very careful return," Herdman explained.

TFC Talk: John Herdman’s managerial mettle to be tested
This next stretch of games will be hugely important for Herdman as he looks to keep the momentum going during an injury crisis.

Sean Johnson close to returning from injury

Defender Richie Laryea and goalkeeper Sean Johnson are both dealing with hamstring issues. While Laryea recently had a surgical procedure in England and is expected to be out until June, Johnson is trending in the right direction and could return to the lineup very soon. 

“[Sean] is very close, very close,” John Herdman said last week. “With Sean, it’s just making sure we take every step to complete his return to play. ... He’s very close.” 

Johnson posted back-to-back shutouts in TFC's opening two games of the season, including a 1-0 road win over the New England Revolution on March 3.

Backup Luka Gavran has started the last four games (two clean sheets) for Toronto and has looked very solid. So, it'll be interesting to see if Herdman goes right back to Johnson when he returns from injury or sticks with Gavran. 

Reader mailbag: Did TFC pull a fast one with Jonathan Osorio over Canada Soccer?
Coach John Herdman said claims that Toronto FC pulled the wool over Soccer Canada are “a load of rubbish.”

TFC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday

Toronto FC returns to action when it visits the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET/Apple TV).    

Vancouver (3-1-1) is coming off a 3-2 home win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday. The Whitecaps jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 29 minutes but then conceded twice in the second half. The home side secured the victory when Ryan Raposo came off the bench in the 81st minute and scored six minutes later. Coach Vanni Sartini made his return to the sidelines after missing the first four games of the regular season due to suspension. 

Forward Fafà Picault leads the team in goals (2) and assists (2), while goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka has one clean sheet in five appearances. 

This Saturday is the first meeting between Toronto and Vancouver since the Whitecaps earned a 2-1 win at BMO Field on Sept. 16, 2023. Deandre Kerr scored the lone goal for TFC.  

Interim coach Terry Dunfield was pleased with his team's effort in the first half and how it took the lead shortly after the halftime break before it conceded twice in a six-minute period to let the game slip from its grasp. 

“Up until that point of the goals I thought it was a nice performance against a good side,” Dunfield told reporters after the game. 

Vancouver leads the all-time MLS regular season series against Toronto with seven wins and three draws in 16 matches. 

Random thoughts on TFC: Was this injury crisis avoidable?
“This many injuries should not be happening if you’re well prepared during a pre-season,” says former captain Jim Brennan.

CanWNT vs. Brazil on Saturday

Canada opens play at the 2024 SheBelieves Cup when faces Brazil in the semifinals in Atlanta on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET/OneSoccer).

The U.S. meets Japan on the same day in Atlanta. The two winners will meet in the final on April 9 in Columbus, Ohio. The losers will square off in the third-place match. 

Canada is No. 9 in the current FIFA world rankings, one spot above Brazil. The two nations have faced each other 31 times dating back to 1996 and the series is dead even at 11 wins, nine draws, and 11 losses apiece. They last met in a friendly series last October when Brazil posted a 1-0 win in Montreal and Canada earned a 2-0 victory in Halifax. 

The SheBelieves Cup is a crucial part of Canada's preparations for this summer's Olympics, especially as there are only two other international windows for the team to play games in before competing in Paris. 

Canada will try to defend its gold medal at this summer's Paris Olympics and will play Group A vs. New Zealand (July 25), France (July 28) and Colombia (July 31). Coach Bev Priestman has until July 3 to name her 18-player Olympic roster and her four alternates.


TFC Republic subscribers can get up to a 25% discount on ticket prices for Toronto FC home games.

To receive the special promo code, email me at To receive the special promo code, email me at

(Please don't share promo code with non-TFC Republic subscribers).

Important dates to remember

Major League Soccer will have two transfer windows during the 2024 season:

  • Primary transfer window:  Jan. 31 to April 23
  • Secondary transfer window: July 18 to August 14

During these windows MLS clubs can sign a player under contract to another team via a transfer. All in-season trades between MLS clubs must also take place during these two windows.

The roster freeze deadline for this season is Sept. 13, which means clubs must submit their final 30-man roster for the remainder of the regular season. Teams can't make any player trades or transfer signings after that deadline.

Stories to look out for at TFC Republic

Norwegian international Sigurd Rosted blew hot and cold throughout the 2023 MLS season. Sometimes he looked quite comfortable and provided the Reds with a steadying presence in the back line. But his campaign was also marred by injuries and inconsistent runs of form over the course of his 21 MLS appearances (18 starts, 1,645 minutes). This year, the former Brøndby centre back has looked pretty solid and played a big role in helping TFC record four clean sheets through their first six games. I recently chatted one-on-one with Rosted about fighting to be a starter this season, life under John Herdman and much more. Look for my feature story on the Norwegian in the coming days.

Other stories that will be published later this week include:         

  • My story on the current state of the union at Toronto FC.
  • My "random thoughts" column on TFC.     
  • A TFC training notebook piece following practice either on Tuesday or Wednesday.  
  • In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of Toronto's road game vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps.   
  • Another edition of the TFC 3 Questions podcast with myself, host James Sharman, former Toronto FC captain Jim Brennan.  
  • The latest instalment of our Toronto FC Flashback series.
  • In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of Canada's match vs. Brazil at the SheBelieves Cup.   
  • And much more! 

TFC Republic mailbag

TFC Republic will feature a regular reader mailbag column where I answer questions from subscribers about Toronto FC and Canadian soccer in general.

I'll answer the best questions submitted to me by TFC Republic readers, so feel free to drop me an email at You can also reach out to me via Twitter.

(Top photo courtesy of Lucas Kschischang/Toronto FC)

TFC Republic has a comments section! At the very bottom of every story, there is a feature where you can post your comments, so be sure to share your thoughts and views.


TFC Republic subscribers can get up to a 25% discount on ticket prices for Toronto FC home games.

To receive the special promo code, email me at To receive the special promo code, email me at

(Please don't share promo code with non-TFC Republic subscribers).