TFC Republic Weekly: June 24-30

Losers of three in a row and winless in six, Toronto FC is trending in the wrong direction at the moment.

TFC Republic Weekly: June 24-30

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... 

Not even a weather delay could save Toronto FC from continuing its downward spiral. TFC stalled and stuttered and were played off the park in a humbling 3-0 road loss to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

Referee Joe Dickerson halted the game after only 10 minutes and ordered the players off the field at Red Bull Arena due to a severe weather warning in the area. Following a 100-minute delay, the game resumed at 9:30 p.m. ET. It proved to be only a brief reprieve for Toronto (7-10-3) who has now lost three in a row and is winless in six overall, and dropped one spot to eighth place in the Eastern Conference table.

This was another lifeless and limp display from TFC, who were let down by some careless defending and a toothless attack. Kevin Long and Deybi Flores struggled to contain the rampaging Red Bulls, while Italian DPs Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi offered very little in the final third.  

Coach John Herdman said there were some positives, namely that his players didn't quit, while also saying the team is in need of a reset.

“It wasn’t good enough. We know that. We keep shooting ourselves in the foot in key moments, at key stages in the game,” Herdman told reporters after the game.

He added: “We’ve got to get back to work on Monday and get a good week’s prep into Atlanta [TFC’s next opponent] which will give us a chance to reset, refocus and come back to an identity which is [being] tough to beat.”

Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls: 3 takeaways
TFC put in a rather lifeless and limp performance on Saturday at Red Bull Arena in falling to their third consecutive loss.

Injuries keep piling up for the Reds

Toronto FC just can't seem to get completely healthy.

John Herdman confirmed last Thursday afternoon that MLS rookie Tyrese Spicer, who has missed the last three games with a back injury, is expected to be ruled out for the next six weeks.

“Tyrese is probably [out for] six weeks with a back issue. Some imaging revealed that there's a deeper issue. That's part of why he didn't go to his international call up [with Trinidad and Tobago]. It's why he's been managed with his minutes,” Herdman revealed.  

“But we've started to get to the root of the problem. He took a knock there in the back a couple of weeks back and it hasn't really been able to recover. … It's not muscular. It's more in and around the bones, so it's going to take some time. So, that's disappointing.”  

Selected No. 1 overall in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft, Spicer, 23, has been a solid contributor for TFC this season with two goals and a pair of assists in 13 league matches (10 starts). The product of Nashville-based Lipscomb University also has a goal in one appearance in the Canadian Championship.  

On Saturday, Spanish midfielder Alonso Coello had to subbed out in the 39th minute with a hamstring injury. Herdman confirmed after the game that it looks like Coello could be out for three to four weeks. Coello has one goal and two assists in 19 games this season.

These injuries come at a bad time for Toronto, who is missing three starters – captain Jonathan Osorio and fellow Canadian Richie Laryea and American goalkeeper Sean Johnson – due to international duty for their national teams at the Copa América. Defender Shane O'Neill (quad) remains unavailable, as does midfielder Brandon Servania, who is still rehabilitating from the knee surgery he had at the end of last season.

Reader mailbag: Is this the real Toronto FC we’re seeing?
TFC are a team in transition that is trying to find itself, and is in need of reinforcements in key positions this summer.

TFC vs. Atlanta United on Saturday

Toronto FC returns to action when it visits Atlanta United on June 29 (7:30 p.m. ET/Apple TV).              

Atlanta (5-8-6) currently sits ninth in the Eastern Conference, one spot and three points behind Toronto. The Georgia-based club is unbeaten in three matches, but only has two wins in its last 14 games. Atlanta is coming off a 1-1 draw away to St. Louis City SC on the weekend when Mexican forward Daniel Ríos scored the equalizer in the 70th minute. 

Argentinian midfielder Thiago Almada and Greek forward Giorgos Giakoumakis lead the team in scoring with five goals apiece – or 38 per cent of Atlanta's goals this season. Defender Brooks Lennon is the team's top playmaker with five assists. On June 16, Atlanta announced the transfer of Giakoumakis to Cruz Azul of Liga MX for an undisclosed transfer fee.  

On June 3, Atlanta United fired coach Gonzalo Pineda after starting the season with just four wins in their first 16 league matches. Assistant Rob Valentino has been serving as the team's interim boss ever since. 

Toronto and Atlanta last met on March 23 when the Reds earned a 2-0 home win over the Nine Stripes. Tyrese Spicer scored his first MLS goal in his first MLS start while Prince Owusu tallied for Toronto who recorded its fourth clean sheet through the first five games of the campaign. 

Spicer's phone blew up after the game with messages from family and friends back in Trinidad. 

“Honestly, it feels surreal. I’ve been working my whole life for this… I want to thank John for trusting me because I’m a rookie. I’m a first-round draft pick, so there’s pressure to come up to expectations. I was confident in myself today… I stepped up to the opportunity and took it,” Spicer said. 

Toronto leads the all-time regular season series against Atlanta with five wins and six draws in 15 meetings. 


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CanMNT continues on at Copa América

The Canadian men's team returns to action at the Copa América when it faces Peru in Kansas City on Tuesday (6:00 p.m./TSN).

Canada opened its Copa campaign with a 2-0 loss to Argentina in Atlanta last Thursday. The Concacaf upstarts pushed and prodded Argentina for 90 minutes, causing the South American powerhouse plenty of fits with their brave attacking play.

Coach Jesse Marsch’s side could take pride in the fact they kept Argentina’s high-powered offence in check, thanks in large part to a man-of-the-match effort from goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau. At the same time, the Canadians were left scratching their heads and wondering what might have been after they valiantly went toe-to-toe with Argentina.

Argentina tops Group A with three points, ahead of Chile and Peru who played to a 0-0 draw in Arlington, Texas last Friday. Canada has zero points.

The top two teams in the group advance to the quarter-finals, so if Canada wants to move on, it will have to take four points from its remaining two games. Canada would be eliminated from contention if it loses to Peru. Chile faces Argentina on Tuesday in New Jersey.

Canada is 48th in the current FIFA rankings, 17 spots behind Peru.

Canada and Peru have played each other twice with one win apiece. The last game was a 2-0 win for Peru in a friendly at Toronto's BMO Field on Sept. 4, 2010. 

Stories to look out for at TFC Republic

Luka Gavran has had to bide his time for playing opportunities as TFC's backup goalkeeper behind MLS veteran Sean Johnson. Gavran, a 24-year-old from Hamilton, Ont., has looked solid in his first full season for the Reds when called upon, but he knows no matter who well he does that he'll always be the No. 2 option so long as Johnson is around. How does Gavran feel about this? I recently spoke to the TFC goalkeeper about this and much more. 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.      
  • My column on the current state of the union at Toronto FC. 
  • Regular "TFC Tidbits" stories throughout the week.  
  • A TFC training notebook piece following practice either on Tuesday or Wednesday.     
  • 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 Doug Robertson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution looking ahead to Saturday's road game vs. Atlanta United.  
  • In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of Toronto's road game vs. Atlanta United.   
  • In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of Canada's game vs. Peru at the Copa América.   
  • In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of Canada's game vs. Chile at the Copa América.   
  • 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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