TFC Republic Weekly: April 15-21

Mired in a three-game losing skid, Toronto FC will try to return to winning ways when it hosts last-place New England this week.

TFC Republic Weekly: April 15-21

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 riding a 3-game losing skid

After a surprisingly strong start to the MLS season, Toronto FC has lost its way and fallen back into some of its old bad habits.  

TFC showed plenty of spirit in twice coming from a goal down to tie things up, but ultimately suffered a 3-2 road defeat to Charlotte FC on Saturday. Substitute Prince Owusu bagged a brace for Toronto (3-4-1) who gave up the winning goal with five minutes left in regulation. 

After beginning the year by taking 10 points and recording four clean sheets in their first five games, the Reds have now conceded 10 times in their last three outings and have lost three in a row for the first time under John Herdman. 

All three of Charlotte's goals were preventable, coming off defensive miscues or lapses in concentration, which left Herdman lamenting over what he called the team's "self-destruct moments."

"The group is very disappointed that we gave some sloppy goals away. ... It's where we're at. As a manager, there's things you can coach, there's things you can organize. The subs, I thought we got right tonight. But there's just some things that are going to take time for this team to understand, learn, and we're going to have to go through those tough moments," Herdman said.

Toronto FC vs. Charlotte FC: 3 takeaways
After posting four shutouts in their first five games, TFC have now conceded 10 times in their last three outings.

TFC caught in tough spot with transfer window closing

The MLS transfer window closes on April 23 and doesn't open again until summer when it runs from July 18 to Aug. 14. During these two periods, MLS clubs can sign a player under contract from another team via a transfer. All in-season trades between MLS teams must also take place during these two windows.

What that means is if Toronto GM Jason Hernandez is going to make a transfer move or a trade, he'll have to do it this month or wait until the summer. Coach John Herdman insists the club is looking to make roster additions this month. 

"[We're] pushing, pushing. Absolutely pushing," Herdman said last Thursday. 

However, he also said getting something done before the April 23 deadline isn't straightforward, hinting that other players on the current roster would have to be moved out before new recruits could be brought in. 

"We've got a pot of money that we've accumulated. That pot of money is maybe not enough to get what we need in, and we're still looking at assessing what might need to go out. And if there were options or opportunities [that] presented itself, we may make some quick decisions. And if it increases the pot of money that can bring in the quality we need, we'll do it. We'll absolutely do it," Herdman explained. 

"If the pot of money is there not to bring in the quality in the area I think we need it most, then we're not going to put Band-Aids [on the roster]. That's been a commitment behind the scenes; myself and Jason are on the same page. We can't Band-Aid this team. If there's a bullseye in a position, and we've got the money for it – when I say bullseye, [I mean] they fit the character, they fit the positional profile, the fit the age profile and we can see them medium term at the club – we'll pull the trigger.

"But we can't Band-Aid this and we can't just panic buy. I'd rather just be patient and then see what comes up in the summer window. And I know that'll kill the fans, but it also kills the fans when a guy comes in and there's been no uplift." 

Reader mailbag: Should TFC use Bernardeschi as a No. 9?
Coach John Herdman feels Toronto FC can get more out of the Italian DP when he’s operating out wide.

Shane O'Neill out at least for a month

John Herdman confirmed last Thursday that centre back Shane O'Neill will be out for a month, or possibly longer, due to a quad injury.

O'Neill started in all seven games, logging 515 minutes, before missing Saturday's affair in Charlotte. Specialists are being consulted about O'Neill's condition, Herdman revealed.

The loss of O'Neill is a bitter blow to a TFC side that is dealing with a rash of injuries. Defender Richie Laryea recently had a surgical procedure in England and is expected to be out until June. Attacker Lorenzo Insigne is dealing with a hamstring issue that will sideline him until May. Midfielder Brandon Servania is still rehabilitating from the knee surgery he had at the end of last season. He isn't expected to be back until June.  

What's more, defender Kevin Long picked up two yellow cards against Charlotte, which means he'll be suspended this weekend against New England. With O'Neill already out, that leaves the Reds without two of their three starting centre backs.

Random thoughts on TFC: Transfer window looms large
John Herdman admitted getting deals done before the MLS transfer window closes on April 23 isn’t straightforward for Toronto FC.

TFC vs. New England Revolution on Saturday

Toronto FC returns to action when it hosts the New England Revolution on Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET/Apple TV).     

New England (1-5-1) sits in last place in the Eastern Conference, six spots and six points below Toronto (3-4-1), and is coming off a 2-0 road loss to New York City FC after going unbeaten in their previous two outings. 

The Revolution are struggling on both sides of the ball under first-year coach Caleb Porter – they've only scored five times (worst in MLS) and have conceded 13 goals (tied for second worst in the East). Veteran midfielder Carles Gil leads the team in scoring with three goals, while fellow Spaniard Nacho Gil and Italian DP Giacomo Vrioni have also tallied for the Revs. 

Toronto and New England previously met on March 3 when the Reds earned a 1-0 win at Gillette Stadium as Lorenzo Insigne chipped a gorgeous shot over goalkeeper Henrich Ravas and into the top right corner of the net in the 27th minute. 

Insigne's goal ended Toronto’s goal scoring drought at 433 minutes dating back to a 3-2 loss to FC Cincinnati on Sept. 30, 2023, at BMO Field. It was also the club’s first road win in MLS since it earned a 2-0 decision over Charlotte FC on Aug. 27, 2022. The victory was the first for TFC under Herdman. 

New England leads the all-time MLS regular season series against Toronto with 16 wins and 13 draws in 40 matches. 


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 Aug. 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

Defender Adam Pearlman became the 33rd player in club history to graduate from the youth academy to the senior team when he signed his first MLS contract in February. Pearlman, 19, spent the past two seasons with TFC 2 where he made 48 appearances, including 47 starts. Last year, he was signed to a short-term loan by Toronto FC and made his MLS debut as a substitute against St. Louis City SC on July 8. I recently conducted a one-on-one interview with Pearlman about coming up through the youth academy, his time with TFC 2, signing with the senior team, his goals, and much more. Look for my feature story 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 home game vs. the New England Revolution.    
  • Another edition of the TFC 3 Questions podcast with myself, host James Sharman, former Toronto FC captain Jim Brennan.   
  • A new audio interview piece with Seth Macomber of The Blazing Musket looking ahead to Saturday's game vs. New England.
  • The weekly TFC 2 report with James Grossi. 
  • 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).