TFC Republic Weekly: May 6-12

After a bit of a rough patch, Toronto FC is getting into a rhythm thanks to a four-game winning streak in all competitions.

TFC Republic Weekly: May 6-12

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 wins 4th in a row in all competitions

Toronto FC (6-4-1) finds itself in third place in the Eastern Conference after Saturday's 3-1 home win over FC Dallas, a result that allowed John Herdman's side to extended its winning streak to four games in all competitions.

The victory was also TFC's third in a row in MLS, marking their first three-game winning streak in league play since winning five straight from Sept. 23 to Oct 11., 2020.

"This is our new phase [of the season] and we knew we had to start strong. We thought we did a good job in [last week's win in] Orlando but it wouldn't have meant much if we didn't take the win here. I think the win here has solidified the charge that we are on at the moment," John Herdman said.

After 19 consecutive games, Federico Bernardeschi's goal drought is finally over. He bagged a brace (and collected an assist) on Saturday to snap a scoring drought that dated back to last August when he scored twice in a 3-2 home loss to CF Montreal. 

"I think the curse is broken ... I think that curse that was on [Bernardeschi] is lifted," Herdman said.

Toronto FC vs. FC Dallas: 3 takeaways
After 19 straight games, Federico Bernardeschi’s goal drought is finally over following a man-of-the-match display against Dallas.

Ayo Akinola, Jordan Perruzza on their way out

Forwards Jordan Perruzza and Ayo Akinola have not been training with the first team this week and it sounds as though their days at TFC will soon come to an end. John Herdman revealed last Friday that the club is looking at several options for the two youngsters, including the possibility of loan deals.

“We're pretty clear that their future needs to be away from Toronto FC to develop their careers, so we're just in the process of establishing what the loans can look like,” Herdman said.

Akinola, 24, has five appearances this season (all off the bench) totalling 85 minutes, with no goals or assists. He’s in the final year of his contract with the Reds, who have the option to re-sign him in 2025. Perruzza, 23, hasn’t made a single appearance this season for TFC. He’s also in the final year of his contract with a club option for 2025.

Herdman also said TFC wants to secure loans for young players on the roster who aren’t getting regular minutes.

“That's what we've been looking at. For players, I'm pretty clear on the profiles that I need at this club to keep us moving forward. That’s driven all of our conversations and young players, particularly if we feel they'd be better served getting minutes in other environments, if we can't guarantee young players good minutes, they need to be playing,” Herdman explained.

Reader mailbag: What happened to Ayo Akinola at Toronto FC?
The Canadian international has never been the same since suffering an ACL injury in 2021 while on international duty with Canada.

Marshall-Rutty out 4 weeks with hamstring injury

Toronto FC just can’t seem to get healthy. 

Already missing several players due to injury, TFC will be without the services of wingback Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty for the next four weeks because of a hamstring issue. Marshall-Rutty picked up the injury in the Reds’ 2-1 road win over Orlando City on April 27 as he was subbed out in the 58th minute.  

“Another blow. Another blow,” Herdman said last Friday.  

“But I think you just get used to it now. It’s part of what we’re dealing with. Players like Jahkeele, because of the limitations on our squad, those players have been pushed to their 'red minutes' [level]. They’re right on the thresholds and when you’ve got people at the thresholds, there’s potential to break.  

“[I’m] gutted. But he’s a quick healer and he’ll be back quick.”  

Marshall-Rutty, 19, has one goal and two assists in nine MLS appearances this season, with five starts and 521 minutes under his belt.  

Random thoughts on TFC: May could be make or break for Reds
Toronto FC’s ability to hold onto its top four spot in the Eastern Conference will be put to the test this month.

TFC vs. CS Saint-Laurent on Wednesday

After dispatching League1 Ontario champions Simcoe County Rovers in the first round of the Canadian Championship, Toronto FC faces another semi-pro side in the two-legged quarter-finals.

CS Saint-Laurent upset the CPL's Halifax Wanderers last week to advance to the final eight of the Canadian Championship.

The reigning League1 Quebec champions will host TFC at Claude-Robillard Stadium in Montreal on Wednesday (7:00 p.m. ET/OneSoccer). The return match in the two-legged, aggregate series goes May 21 at BMO Field.

“They’re an exciting team. I enjoyed watching them last night. A lot of individual talent and if we don’t get the mentality right in a game like that you can go there and be in a lot of trouble,” coach John Herdman said.

The winner moves on to the semifinals where they’ll meet the winner of the CF Montreal-Forge FC quarter-final.


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TFC vs. New York City FC on Saturday

Toronto FC returns to MLS action when it hosts New York City FC on May 11 (7:30 p.m. ET/Apple TV).         

NYCFC (4-5-2) sits in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, four spots and five points below TFC in the table and is coming off a 2-0 home loss to the Colorado Rapids on Sunday. The defeat snapped the club's five-game unbeaten run, which included three straight wins. It was also New York's first ever loss to Colorado in seven all-time meetings between the clubs. 

Uruguayan midfielder Santiago Rodríguez leads NYCFC in scoring with four goals this season, while goalkeeper Matt Freese has started 11 games with a pair of clean sheets. 

NYCFC began their MLS campaign with three straight defeats and four losses in their first five games, before posting a league-high 10 points in April when it went 3-0-1 for the month.  

Toronto and New York previously met on March 16 at Yankee Stadium when NYCFC earned a 2-1 win. Teenager Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty scored the first goal of his MLS career, but that wasn’t enough to inspire a lacklustre TFC.  

NYCFC leads the all-time regular season series against TFC with eight wins and seven draws in 21 meetings 

This is the final regular season meeting between Toronto and NYCFC this year. 

Stories to look out for at TFC Republic

Recently acquired in a trade with Atlanta United, winger Derrick Etienne Jr. is a veteran of eight MLS seasons who has won the Supporters’ Shield with the New York Red Bulls in 2018 and an MLS Cup (2020) and Campeones Cup (2021) with the Columbus Crew. But his recent spell with Atlanta wasn't a success, as he made just 25 appearances since joining the club in 2023. His trade to TFC gives the Haitian international a chance to get his club career back on track. 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 piece looking at the key stories to watch from TFC this week.  
  • My "random thoughts" column on TFC.      
  • Regular TFC Tidbits throughout the week  
  • In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of Toronto's Canadian Championship game vs. CS Saint-Laurent.      
  • In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of Toronto's home game vs. New York City FC.      
  • 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 Andrew Leigh of Hudson River Blue looking ahead to Saturday's home game vs. New York City FC.  
  • The weekly TFC 2 report.  
  • 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.