TFC Republic Weekly: April 3-9 lookahead
Toronto FC travels to Tennessee this week to face Nashville SC and will be looking for its first road win since last August.
Welcome to the latest edition of TFC Republic Weekly, a free 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 set up their schedule of games for the week.
You'll also get a glimpse of what to expect at TFC Republic in the coming days.
So, without further ado...
Toronto still searching for 2nd win of season
Toronto FC kept its unbeaten streak alive with Saturday's 2-2 home draw against Charlotte FC but should have walked away with much more.
A two-goal lead at halftime evaporated into thin air as the Reds were outplayed and outworked by the visitors for the final 45 minutes, and they eventually had to settle for a share of the points.
"Overall, I still think we are going in a better direction, but we've got to find ways to take nights like tonight and turn them into three points," coach Bob Bradley said in the post-match press conference.
Goals by Federico Bernardeschi and captain Michael Bradley capped off a brilliant first half in which TFC dictated proceedings. The home side was in firm control going into the break and based on the balance of play through the first 45 minutes they looked a sure bet to win their second game of the campaign. But Charlotte came out flying to start the second half, and Toronto couldn't contain Polish midfielder Kamil Józwiak who set up one goal and then scored the equalizer.
“The wind was a huge factor today. Conditions were tough, but still in the end after being ahead 2-0 we let them back into the game too easily. … We let ourselves down in that regard,” Bob Bradley said.
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson admitted the conditions were tough for Toronto in the second half, but not any tougher than what Charlotte faced in the first 45 minutes when it was playing directly into a strong wind.
“Both teams have to deal with the same conditions on the night. Obviously, [it was] a tale of two halves. But you can’t look at the weather and blame the weather for making the game tough,” Johnson offered.
TFC vs. Nashville SC on Saturday
Toronto FC hits the road this week when it visits Nashville SC on Saturday (8:30 p.m. ET) at GEODIS Park.
Nashville (3-2-1) snapped a two-game losing skid with a 2-0 road win over Orlando City on the weekend courtesy of goals from Hany Mukhtar (last season’s league MVP) and Fafà Picault. It was Nashville’s fourth clean sheet of the campaign.
Former TFC winger Jacob Shaffelburg leads Nashville in scoring this season with two goals – the Canadian international has started five games and logged 359 minutes of action. Shaffelburg, a native of Nova Scotia, was an unused substitute in the Orlando match.
Toronto and Nashville last met on Aug. 6, 2022, when the Reds recorded a thrilling 4-3 win in Tennessee.
With the Reds holding onto a slim one-goal lead in the second half, Lorenzo Insigne accepted a short pass from Michael Bradley and then took on three Nashville players before curling a gorgeous shot from 20 yards out that majestically nestled inside the near post. It was the Italian's first goal in four games in all competitions for TFC.
"He's a competitor. We see him getting fitter every week, doing more and more. And now to be able to get his first goal [it was a relief for him]. It came at a good time," coach Bob Bradley said of Insigne.
Jonathan Osorio bagged a brace and Federico Bernardeschi also scored for Toronto, who snapped a 19-game winless skid on the road (13 losses) and earned its first road victory in MLS since a 2-1 decision over the Chicago Fire on July 24, 2021. Bernardeschi also had an assist on the night.
The all-time series between Toronto and Nashville (including playoffs) is tied at two wins apiece in five matches. These teams will meet again on June 10 at BMO Field.
Reds to sign Alonso Coello this week?
TFC 2 midfielder Alonso Coello made his MLS debut while on loan for Toronto FC in an 0-0 draw away to the San Jose Earthquakes on March 16, and he came off the bench in the second half this past weekend against Charlotte FC.
MLS roster rules stipulate that teams can sign players from their MLS NEXT Pro affiliates to four short-term loans (four-day contracts) during the course of the regular season, but those players are only allowed to play in two games.
What that means for Coello, a 23-year-old from Madrid, is that he can't appear in another MLS regular season game this year unless the Reds sign him to a senior team contract.
But from the sounds of it, Coello could be signed to an MLS contract very soon, possibly even this week.
"I think we are close to the idea that now we will move him into a first team contract," coach Bob Bradley said after the Charlotte match.
Coello would certainly provide TFC with some more midfield depth and give the club more options, as the Spaniard can be deployed as either a holding midfielder or as a box-to-box player.
RELATED READING: Newsletter || Features || Match reports || Opinion pieces || Q&As || Video blogs || News || Transactions
Stories to look out for at TFC Republic
TFC 2 has proven to be an invaluable part of Toronto FC's developmental system, as it’s usually where the best youth academy products play before signing with the senior team. A lot of notable former and current Toronto FC players cut their teeth with TFC 2 before making their MLS debuts, including Ayo Akinola, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Kosi Thompson, Alex Bono, and Jayden Nelson. Look for my feature story on TFC 2 and how the side is aligned with the senior team in the coming days.
Other stories that will be published later this week include:
- In-depth pre- and post-game coverage of TFC's road game against Nashville SC.
- A column on the state of the union at Toronto FC.
- My weekly TFC random thoughts column.
- A "bits and bites" piece on various things going on at TFC.
- The weekly notebook from TFC practice with all the latest news ahead of Saturday's game.
- A special report on TFC 2 and their start to the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season.
- The latest instalment in our "MLS rules explained" series.
- 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 email@example.com. You can also reach out to me via Twitter and Facebook.
(Top photo courtesy of Tudor Dinica)
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.