TFC Republic Weekly: June 10-16

After a 14-day hiatus, Toronto FC returns to action this weekend when it looks to snap its three-match winless skid in MLS.

TFC Republic Weekly: June 10-16

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 returns from short break

TFC had last week off after a gruelling schedule that saw them play nine games across two competitions from the start of May until June 1.

The team didn't train as players had a chance to rest, recuperate and recharge, while coach John Herdman returned to B.C. for a short visit with his family.

Several TFC players were away on international duty, most notably captain Jonathan Osorio and fellow Canadian Richie Laryea. Deybi Flores (Honduras) and Derrick Etienne Jr. (Haiti) were called up by their teams for Concacaf World Cup qualifiers. Sean Johnson was away with the U.S. national team, who plays Brazil in Orlando on Wednesday.

The Reds will be back in action this weekend when they host the Chicago Fire. Their last outing saw them concede twice in the final 11 minutes before hanging on for dear life to earn a 2-2 road draw against D.C. United. That result extended the club's winless run in MLS to three games.

TFC's previous league win was their 5-1 destruction of CF Montreal on May 18.

TFC mid-season report: Where do things stand with the Reds?
John Herdman’s ability to get the Italian DPs on board is just one reason why Toronto FC has enjoyed a major transformation in 2024.

Lorenzo Insigne expected to return this weekend 

Italian DP Lorenzo Insigne missed Toronto's previous two games before the break as he was allowed to fly home to Italy so he could be with his wife Genoveffa as she gave birth to their son Mattia (the couple already have two boys).  

The expectation is that Insigne will be back in training with the team this week and be available for Saturday's match. 

After playing in the team's first five matches of the season, Insigne missed the next eight games in all competitions with a hamstring injury before returning to action on May 11. Insigne has three goals and four assists in nine league appearances in 2024. 

Federico Bernardeschi and Nicksoen Gomis will be suspended for this weekend. Both players picked up a pair of yellow cards in the D.C. game which means they also earned automatic one-game suspensions. 

TFC’s Kevin Long: ‘I want to get this club back to winning ways’
In this 1-on-1 interview, Long talks about how he’s adjusted to playing in MLS, life under John Herdman, and much more.

No more sanctions for Toronto FC, NYCFC from MLS

MLS has completed its investigation into multiple altercations involving New York City FC and Toronto FC this season and decided against any further fines or suspensions. 

In its statement released last Thursday, MLS said that it had reviewed the accusations stemming from the March 16 contest between the teams at Yankee Stadium and the altercation following NYCFC’s 3-2 win at BMO Field on May 11. 

“[MLS] conducted a review of both incidents and determined that players and staff from both teams involved in the altercation exhibited poor judgment and engaged in behaviour contradictory to MLS values. While no additional suspensions or fines have been issued, head coaches and executives from both clubs were required to meet with MLS Commissioner Don Garber to discuss League expectations for behaviour and conduct,” the league’s statement read 

A post-game melee broke out on the pitch between both teams at BMO Field in May following New York's win. TFC's Federico Bernardeschi and NYCFC's Strahinja Tanasijevic were both red carded for their involvement in the ugly scenes 

Reds coach John Herdman and goalkeeper Sean Johnson were subsequently suspended one game each by the league, while TFC defender Richie Laryea was handed a two-game game, a suspension he served while injured. Tanasijevic also received an additional game ban. 

After the game Herdman and captain Jonathan Osorio said the bad blood stemmed from the previous match at Yankee Stadium, alleging that New York coach Nick Cushing punched a 19-year-old TFC player at halftime in the stadium tunnel. They did not identify the player, but it is believed to be Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty. Cushing categorically denied the allegation.  


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TFC vs. Chicago Fire on Saturday

Toronto FC returns from its hiatus when it hosts the Chicago Fire on June 15 (7:30 p.m. ET/Apple TV & TSN).             

Chicago (3-8-6) currently sits 14th in the Eastern Conference, one spot and two points above the last place New England Revolution, and eight spots and nine points behind Toronto. 

Like TFC, the Fire were off last week and have been idle since earning a surprising 2-1 home win over the LA Galaxy on June 1. That result snapped Chicago's nine-game winless run (five losses) and was its first win since April 6.  

With just 17 goals, Chicago has the third worst attack in the East, and its 29 goals against is third worst in the conference. The team's minus-12 goal difference ranks only behind New England (minus-16) in the East. 

Hugo Cuypers and Brian Gutiérrez have combined for nine goals, or 53 per cent of Chicago's offensive production. The team's lone clean sheets came in a pair of 0-0 draws against Atlanta United and New York Red Bulls in April.  

Toronto and Chicago last met on July 15, 2023, when Kacper Przybylko scored in the 90th minute via a header off a cross from Miguel Navarro to guide the Fire to a 1-0 win. TFC put in a decent performance in their fourth match under interim coach Terry Dunfield, as Franco Ibarra (starter) and Latif Blessing (substitute) made their debuts for the Reds. 

Toronto leads the all-time series against Chicago with 14 wins and 12 draws in 37 games. 

Saturday is the first of two regular season meetings between the clubs as they'll meet again on Sept. 28 in Chicago. 

Stories to look out for at TFC Republic

Toronto FC has had 14 coaches (full time and interim) since its first MLS season in 2007. But none were as colourful as John Carver, who was the Reds' second manager and oversaw the club from Feb. 1, 2008, to April 25, 2009. Since then, he's coached in his native England and currently serves as an assistant with the Scottish national team set to compete at Euro 2024. TFC Republic caught up with Carver to look back on his time as Toronto FC coach. Look for my feature story in the coming days. 

Other stories that will be published later this week include:               

  • My piece looking at the key stories to watch from TFC this week.     
  • Regular "TFC Tidbits" stories throughout the week. 
  • My "random thoughts" column on Toronto FC.       
  • 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 Chicago Fire.  
  • 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 Joe Chatz of On Tap Sports looking ahead to Saturday's home game vs. the Chicago Fire. 
  • 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)

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