TFC Republic Weekly: March 4-10

With a draw and a win in its first two games of 2024, Toronto FC has already equaled its number of road points from last season.

TFC Republic Weekly: March 4-10

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 off to a solid start to the MLS season

Toronto FC put a stop to a number of dubious streaks in Sunday's 1-0 road win over the New England Revolution.

Lorenzo Insigne's first-half 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 John Herdman since he took charge last October and only their second in 20 matches (18 losses) in all competitions dating back to last year. Toronto hadn’t recorded back-to-back clean sheets in MLS since March 18-25, 2023. The Reds only earned four road points in MLS all last season. They've already equaled that mark through the first two games of the current campaign.

The goal was Insigne’s first since Aug. 30, 2023, and it ended TFC’s road scoring drought at 916 minutes. The Reds’ previous goal away from home in MLS came when Deandre Kerr found the back of the net in a 2-1 loss vs. New England on June 24, 2023.   

This was another well-rounded team effort by Toronto, highlighted by the hard work put in by the Italian DPs both on and off the ball, a series of terrific saves by Sean Johnson in the second half, and a back line that bent but didn't break under the Revolution's persistent attacking pressure.

"We have to be able to win games like this on the road and we did that tonight," Johnson said.

Toronto FC earns its first win of John Herdman era
Lorenzo Insigne started and scored to propel TFC to a rare road win over the New England Revolution on Sunday afternoon.

Reds sign English midfielder Matty Longstaff

Toronto FC bolstered its midfield last week when it signed Englishman Matty Longstaff to a contract through 2025 with an option for 2026.

Longstaff, 23, spent the previous four seasons at Newcastle United where he scored three goals in 20 matches in all competitions, including 14 Premier League appearances. During his time with Newcastle, the midfielder went on loan to Scottish club Aberdeen FC, as well as with EFL League Two sides Mansfield Town and Colchester United.

He suffered a serious knee injury during his six-month loan at Colchester. Longstaff returned to Newcastle to undergo rehab and recover from this setback, before being released by the Premier League club last summer. As such, he hasn't played a competitive game in 15 months. 

The TFC newcomer maintains that all of his injury issues are in the rearview mirror. He just needs to work himself into game shape as he hasn’t played in a competitive match since that match when he injured his knee.  

“I’ve been out for a bit but I’m in good shape now. I imagine I need to build up a little bit … [But] I feel like I’m ready to play now. Whenever I’m needed, I’ll be ready,” Longstaff said.  

Herdman believes Longstaff offers the club a unique player profile with his “next level touch” and his passing ability, likening him to Billy Gilmore, a Scottish international currently with Premier League outfit Brighton & Hove Albion.  

Longstaff played 30 minutes of Toronto's pre-season game against LAFC in California last month and was in camp with the club for about 10-12 days. He's expected to make his debut for the Reds in their home opener vs. Charlotte FC on March 9. 

Matty Longstaff given second chance with move to Toronto FC
The English midfielder has been out for more than a year due to injury, but he has a new lease on life after signing with TFC this week.

TFC vs. Charlotte FC on Saturday

Toronto returns to action when it hosts Charlotte FC in their home opener on Saturday (2:00 p.m. ET/Apple TV and TSN).  

Charlotte opened the season with a 1-0 victory over NYCFC at home and followed that up with a 1-1 draw vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps on the road this past weekend. 

Portuguese forward Iuri Tavares opened the scoring for Charlotte in the 31st minute with his first career MLS goal in only his second league appearance before Vancouver's Ryan Raposo tied things up right before halftime. 

Kristijan Kahlina made three saves to record the clean sheet against NYCFC, while Adilson Malanda provided the offence with his first goal in 37 league appearances for Charlotte. 

Saturday's match is the first meeting between Toronto and Charlotte since the Reds suffered a 3-0 road loss on Oct. 4, 2023. A pair of first-half penalty kicks by Karol Świderski helped sink Toronto, who was in the middle of what turned out to be a seven-game losing streak to close out the season. 

Toronto leads the all-time series against Charlotte with two wins and a draw in four meetings. 

CanWNT Talk: Now it gets serious for Olympic champions
In the latest video blog, we examine Canada’s laborious win over Costa Rica and what awaits the Olympic champs in the semifinals.

CanWNT vs. United States at the Concacaf W Gold Cup

The Canadian women's team will renew its rivalry with the United States when they two nations square off in the semifinals of the Concacaf W Gold Cup in San Diego on Wednesday (10:00 p.m. ET/OneSoccer).  

Canada booked its place in the final four after posting a 1-0 extra-time win over Costa Rica in Saturday’s quarter-final in Los Angeles thanks to spectacular save by goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan deep into injury time and a timely goal from Evelyne Viens that sent the pesky Central Americans packing.  

The Canadians are a perfect 4-0-0 at the tournament and have outscored their opponents 14-0. But they have yet to be seriously tested at the Gold Cup. The Olympic champions are the only team at this tournament that has yet to play a nation ranked in the world’s top 35. That will change when they take on the second-ranked U.S., who defeated Colombia 3-0 on Sunday to book its spot in the semifinals.  

Wednesday's match will be the first between Canada and the U.S. since the Americans earned a 2-0 win at last year's SheBelieves Cup. The U.S. leads the all-time series against Canada with 53 wins and seven draws in 64 games dating back to their first meeting in 1986.

Should Canada advance to Sunday's final, which also takes place in San Diego, it'll face the winner of Wednesday's other semifinal between Brazil and Mexico. 


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

Matty Longstaff has been given a chance to get his career back on track in MLS by Toronto FC after the former Newcastle United midfielder suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for over a year. How is his move to TFC being viewed in Newcastle United circles? What can TFC fans expect to see from him? This week, I'll speak to UK-based reporter Scott Wilson, who covers Newcastle United for The Northern Echo newspaper, to find out more about Longstaff. Look for my feature story in the coming days.   

Other stories that will be published later this week include:         

  • A three takeaways blog on Toronto FC's win over the New England Revolution.  
  • My "random thoughts" column on TFC.     
  • A feature story on fullback Kobe Franklin. 
  • My piece on the current makeup of Toronto's roster.  
  • A TFC training notebook piece following Tuesday's practice.  
  • In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of Toronto's home opener vs. Charlotte FC.   
  • Another edition of the TFC 3 Questions podcast with myself, host James Sharman, former Toronto FC captain Jim Brennan.  
  • In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of Canada's semifinal vs. the Unites States the Concacaf W Gold 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).