TFC Republic Weekly: June 3-9

Winless in its last three MLS games, Toronto FC gets a much needed break this week after playing nine matches in 32 days.

TFC Republic Weekly: June 3-9

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 winless in 3 MLS games after road draw

As far as late-game collapses go, this one was spectacular from Toronto FC.  

Sitting on a 2-0 lead, TFC looked to be home and dry against D.C. United at Audi Field on Saturday night. But the Reds saw Federico Bernardeschi and Nicksoen Gomis both sent off, and D.C. United scored twice in the final 11 minutes, including from the penalty spot deep into injury time to earn a 2-2 draw.  

Bernardeschi had a goal and an assist and Derrick Etienne Jr. also scored for Toronto (7-7-3). Bernardeschi was given his marching orders in the 87th minute when he earned his second yellow card for poor sportsmanship. Gomis’ second caution came following a VAR review after he rugby tackled D.C.’s Garrison Tubbs inside the penalty area.

"What I’ve seen in MLS is there’s no game over on the road. There’s no game over ever. For us, we’re disappointed. The dressing room, we’ve said what we needed to be said; players have owned key moments. I think last year we’d have celebrated a point on the road, but this is a different mindset from this group. They know they dropped two points tonight. That may be crucial in the race. But we picked up a point, and that might be crucial as well,” coach John Herdman told reporters after the game. 

He later added: "At 2-nil, I thought we were in control. And then it's all about game management, which I think this team has got to develop. I think the championship teams are able to settle on the ball in those moments and take away that direct rhythm." 

Toronto FC vs. D.C. United: 3 takeaways
TFC let two extra points slip through their fingers in D.C. due to a lack of discipline and game management.

TFC off until June 15

After a gruelling schedule that saw them play nine games across two competitions in 32 days, TFC will now be off until June 15 when they host the Chicago Fire.

John Herdman revealed the team will "shut it down for a period" this week to allow the players to recharge their batteries before returning to training. 

“We’ve agreed they’d take a good five days just to reset. ... This month has been a busy one, so just to let them emotionally reset and come back here ready to go again and excited to compete because it's heavy again in June,” Herdman explained. 

Several squad members will be on international duty during this break, including Canadians Jonathan Osorio and Richie Laryea, American goalkeeper Sean Johnson and Honduran midfielder Deybi Flores.

TFC Tidbits: Herdman excited by matchup vs. CPL’s Forge FC
The 2024 Canadian Championship semifinals allow TFC’s coach to test his wits against Forge’s Bobby Smyrniotis.

First CanMNT games under new coach Jesse Marsch

A new chapter in the history of the Canadian men's team begins this week as coach Jesse Marsch will oversee the side for the first time in a pair of high-profile friendlies. 

Marsch recently announced his roster for Canada's matches versus the Netherlands (June 6 in Rotterdam) and France (June 9 in Bordeaux). Included in his squad are TFC captain Jonathan Osorio and wingback Richie Laryea.  

Other familiar names in the Canadian team include fullbacks Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) and Alistair Johnston (Celtic), midfielder Stephen Eustáquio (FC Porto), winger Tajon Buchanan (Inter Milan), and forwards Jonathan David (LOSC Lille) and Cyle Larin (RCD Mallorca).  

The games against the Netherlands (No. 7 in the current FIFA world rankings) and France (No. 2) will mark Marsch's debut since being hired as Canada's coach earlier last month. Canada is ranked 49th.  

It’ll be a baptism of fire for the former MLS coach of the year, as he has very little time to settle in with the Canadian team. After the games in Europe, the Copa América looms where Canada will face Lionel Messi and reigning World Cup champions Argentina (ranked No. 1) in the tournament’s opening match on June 20 in Atlanta, followed by two more tough group stage encounters against Peru (No 32) on June 25 in Kansas City and Chile (No. 42) on June 29 in Orlando.  

June’s game will mark Canada’s second-ever meeting with the Netherlands. The Dutch earned a 3-0 win over the Canadians at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium on June 12, 1994, in the buildup to that summer’s World Cup hosted by the United States. Included in Canada’s starting 11 that day were Craig Forrest, Frank Yallop, Randy Samuel and Carlo Corazzin. Frank Rijkaard, Marc Overmars and Dennis Bergman scored for the Dutch.  

The Canadian men’s team made its World Cup debut in 1986 in Mexico and lost 1-0 to the French, the reigning European champions at the time, in its opening match of the tournament. That was only other time Canada met France, whose lineup that day featured Michel Platini, Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse and Jean-Pierre Papin  

Canada hasn’t played a top-ranked nation like the Netherlands or France since the 2022 World Cup when it suffered losses to Belgium (No. 2), Croatia (No. 12) and Morocco (No. 22). Canada was ranked 41st going into that World Cup.   


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CanWNT wraps up home series vs. Mexico

It wasn’t pretty, but the Canadian women’s team found a way. 

Canada had a pretty tough time against Mexico and struggled to break down its pesky Concacaf rival before eventually eking out a 2-0 win in Saturday’s international friendly at Montreal’s Stade Saputo.  

Adriana Leon and Cloé Lacasse both scored late goals for Canada, while Evelyne Viens collected a pair of assists in this Olympic tune-up match for the reigning gold medal champions. Canada is No. 9 in the current FIFA world rankings, 22 spots above Mexico, although the gap didn’t seem that big on this afternoon as the Mexicans made life difficult for the Canadians and prevented them from getting into a groove for most of the match.

"I thought [in] the first half we played a little bit within ourselves; sideways, backwards. And I think the identity of the team is a team who can hurt teams in behind. I think that's what you saw in the second half. … The second half, that’s the identity of the team,” coach Bev Priestman said.

Canada meets Mexico again on June 4 in Toronto in its second Olympic tune-up game this month. These matches will help inform Priestman's decisions regarding selecting her Olympic squad. Priestman has until July 3 to name her 18-player Olympic roster and her four alternates. The alternates, which includes a goalkeeper, can only be used in case of an injury. Once an injured player has been replaced, she can't return. 

These friendlies are a crucial part of Canada's preparations for this summer's Olympics, especially as there is only one other opportunity to play games before competing in Paris. The Canadian women are expected to play two more warm-up matches in Europe during the July 8-16 FIFA international window.  

Canada is 23-2-3 all-time against Mexico. 

Stories to look out for at TFC Republic

We're at the official halfway point of the MLS season for Toronto FC and it's amazing to think the club sits sixth in the Eastern Conference and is within touching distance of the top four. What's worked for the Reds so far? What hasn't? Who's stepped up? TFC Republic will take a deep dive into the first half of Toronto FC's 2024 MLS campaign and answer these questions and many more. Look for my feature story in the coming days.

Other stories that will be published later this week include:              

  • My piece on the state of the union at Toronto FC.    
  • Regular "TFC Tidbits" stories throughout the week        
  • 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 former U.S. international Sacha Kljestan on TFC and the Canadian men's team under Jesse Marsch.
  • In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of the Canadian men's team games vs. the Netherlands and France.        
  • In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of the Canadian women's team game vs. Mexico in Toronto.    
  • 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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