This article will be pinned to act as a catch-all to all MLS transactions in off-season. It will be chronologically updated, with newest news at the top. The page will be updated most* days at 10pm ET, if not live during day.
*Holidays and unforeseen circumstances aside
Updates for Jan 20
SIGNING -- Seattle signs Michael Farfan. He was most recently with DC United.
RE-SIGNING -- Colorado re-signs Bobby Burling
RE-SIGNING -- Philly re-signs Brian Carroll
SIGNING -- NYCFC signs Ronald Matarrita. He as most recently with Alajuelense
SIGNING -- Dallas signs Juan Esteban Ortiz. He was most recently with Colombian side Atlético Huila
SIGNING -- Vancouver signs Christian Bolanos. He was most recently with Saprissa
Updates for Jan 19
DRAFT -- The SuperDraft was completed. See the picks here
Updates for Jan 18
LOAN -- Galatasaray loans Lucas Ontivero to Montreal
SIGNING -- Vancouver signs Deybi Flores. He was with the club on loan in 2015.
TRADE -- Colorado trades Clint Irwin to Toronto for TAM and and draft picks
Updates for Jan 15
SIGNING -- RSL signs Yura Movsisyan, who was with the team during its championship season in 2009
TRADE -- Philly sends Zach Pfeffer to Colorado has the player to be named later in the trade that landed Philly the No 2 pick in the SuperDraft
Updates for Jan 14
SUPERDRAFT -- First two rounds of SuperDraft picks here
FREE AGENCY SIGNING -- Galaxy sign Mike Magee, most recently from Chicago
Updates for Jan 13
SIGNING -- Philly signs Andreson Conceicao
TRADE -- Columbus trades TAM and GAM for to Portland for Jack McInerney
SIGNING -- San Jose signs Andres Imperiale
HOMEGROWN SIGNING --Kansas City signs Daniel Salloi to a homegrown contract
RELEASED -- Toronto releases Ahmed Kantari
Updates for Jan 12
RE-SIGNING -- Robbie Rogers, Jose Villarreal and Rafael Garcia re-signed by Galaxy
LOAN OUT -- Philly's Michael Lahoud loaned to NASL New York Cosmos
SIGNING -- Philly signs Walter Restrepo from New York Cosmos
TRADE -- Portland trades an international spot to Montreal for Zarek Valentin
FREE AGENCY SIGNING -- Portland signs Ned Grabavoy to a free agent contract
Updates for Jan 11
RE-SIGNING - Kansas City re-signs Soni Mustivar and Paulo Nagamura
FREE AGENCY SIGNING - Houston signs free agent Jalil Anibaba, most recently with Kansas City
RE-SIGNING -- Galaxy re-sign Alan Gordon
Updates for Jan 7
RE-SIGNINGS - Red Bulls re-sign Dax McCarty, Felipe and Damien Perrinelle
RETIREMENT -- Seattle's Gonzalo Pineda retires
RE- SIGNINGS -- Quincy Amarikwa and Jordan Steward re-sign with San Jose
TRADE -- Houston trades Brad Davis to Kansas City for two future draft picks
Updates for Jan 6
FREE AGENCY SIGNING -- Galaxy sign free agent Jeff Larentowicz. He was most recently with Chicago.
RE-SIGNING -- Vancouver re-signs Cristian Techera to a multi-year contract
DP SIGNING -- San Jose signs Simon Dawkins to a DP contract
TRADE - DC United acquires Patrick Nyarko from from Chicago for a second round draft pick in 2016
FRONT OFFICE CHANGES - Galaxy name Peter Vagenas vice-president of soccer operations, a promotion from his previous role as head of the Galaxy academy
FRONT OFFICE CHANGES - New York City FC hires Jon Patricof as President. He was previously with Tribeca Enterprises
RE-SIGNING -- New England re-signs Diego Fagundez to a multi-year contract
FRONT OFFICE RE-SIGNING: Gregg Berhalter signs an extension with Columbus
Updates for Jan 5
FRONT OFFICE CHANGES: Kansas City hires Brian Bliss as Director of Player Personnel. Previously he was the Technical Director at Chicago
HOMEGROWN SIGNING: Dallas signs Arron Guillen to a homegrown contract
Updates for Jan 3, 2016
Combine roster released -- Three Canadians included Josh Heard (Victoria), Callum Irving (Vancouver), Ryan James (Mississauga).
Full list here.
END OF 2015 TRANSACTIONS
Updates for Dec 30
LOANED -- Portland loans Liam Ridgewell to Brighton Hove & Albion of the English Championship until Feb 20.
Updates for Dec 29
HOMEGROWN SIGNING -- Danilo Acosta signs with RSL as a homegrown player
DISCOVERY SIGNING -- Vancouver signs Masato Kudo from the J-League
FREE AGENCY SIGNING -- Chad Barrett signs with San Jose. He was most recently with Seattle.
FRONT OFFICE CHANGES -- Phil Rawlins appoints self as interim Chief Soccer Officer at Orlando
Updates for Dec 28
FRONT OFFICE CHANGES -- Armando Carneiro leaves Orlando. He was the Chief Soccer Officer
Updates for Dec 27
RE-SIGNING -- Cameron Porter re-signs with Montreal
Updates for Dec 25
RE-SIGNING -- N.P. United re-sign DeSanta Claus to a three year extension
Updates for Dec 24
OUT TRANSFER -- Galaxy sell Juninho to Club Tijuana
Updates for Dec 23
OUT MOVEMENT -- Andy Rose, formally of Seattle, signs with Coventry City
OUT MOVEMENT -- Luis Gill, formally of Salt Lake, signs with Queretaro
HOME GROWN SIGNINGS -- New York Red Bulls sign Chris Thorsheim, Mael Corboz and Scott Thomsen to homegrown contracts
Updates for Dec 22
OUT TRANSFER -- Galaxy's Omar Gonzalez sold to Pachuca
HOME GROWN SIGNING -- New York Red Bulls sign Alex Muyl to a homegrown contract
Updates for Dec 21
USL Promotions -- Seattle signs Andy Craven and Tyler Miller to MLS contracts
HOME GROWN SIGNING - New York Red Bulls sign Brandon Allen and Derrick Etienne to homegrown contracts
Updates for Dec 20
TRADE -- Orlando acquires Joe Bendik from Toronto for a fourth round draft pick in 2017
Updates for Dec 18
TRADE -- Toronto acquires Will Johnson from Portland for a conditional draft pick in 2017.
FREE AGENT SIGNING -- Corey Ashe signs with Columbus. He was most recently with Orlando.
TRADE -- Toronto acquires Steven Beitashour from Vancouver for a 2016 second round draft pick
Updates for Dec 17
HOME GROWN SIGNINGS -- Chicago signs Joey Calistri and Drew Conner to homegrown contracts.
RE-SIGNING -- NYCFC re-signs Josh Saunders to a long-term contract
RE-ENTRY DRAFT -- Orlando selects Kevin Alston, formerly of New England
RE-ENTRY DRAFT -- Portland selects Jermaine Taylor, formerly of Houston
USL PROMOTION -- Galaxy sign Daniel Steres to a MLS contract
SIGNING -- Houston signs Calle Brown from Pittsburgh of USL
Updates for Dec 16
USL PROMOTION -- Galaxy sign Clement Diop to a MLS contract
RE-SIGNINGS - Portland re-signs Ben Zemanski and Nick Besler
RE-SIGNING -- New England re-signs Chris Tierney
RE-SIGNINGS -- Houston re-signs Ricardo Clark, Boniek Garcia and Sheanon Williams
FREE AGENCY SIGNING -- Toronto signs Drew Moor, formerly of Colorado
Update for Dec 15
TRADE - Colorado acquires Marco Pappa from Seattle for allocation money
TRADE - Galaxy acquire Dan Kennedy from Dallas for a second and third round pick in the 2017 SuperDraft
Update for Dec 14
FREE AGENT SIGNING -- Justin Mapp signs with Kansas City
Updates for Dec 11
RE-SIGNING - Montreal re-signs Hassoun Camara
RE-SIGNING - Vancouver re-signs Pa Modou Kah
TRADE - Colorado acquires Zac MacMath from Philly in exchange for a 2nd round SuperDraft pick
TRADE - Portland acquires Chris Klute from Columbus in exchange for general allocation money
RE-ENTRY DRAFT - Dallas selects Maximiliano Urruti, previously from Portland
RE-ENTRY DRAFT - Kansas City selects Alec Kann, previously from Chicago
Updates for Dec 10
TRADE: Philly trades Ethan White to NYCFC
Three days later Philly gets around to confirming its releases:
RE-SIGNING: Colorado comes to terms with Sean St. Ledger
SOLD -- Portland sells Jorge Villafana to Liga MX's Santos Laguna
UPDATES for Dec 9
FRONT OFFICE - Orlando parts way with GM Paul McDonough. Former Benfica executive Armando Carneiro takes over duties.
SIGNING - Kansas City signs Kenyon international Lawrence Olum
WAIVER DRAFT - Colorado selects Michael Azira, formerly of Seattle
UPDATE Dec 8 -- 8pm
Waiver draft list
Daneil Cyrus (Chicago Fire)
Adailton dos Santos (Chicago Fire)
Charles Eloundou (Colorado Rapids)
Emanuel Pogatetz (Columbus Crew SC)
Ben Speas (Columbus Crew SC)
Kristinn Steindorsson (Columbus Crew SC)
Facundo Coria (D.C. United)
Otis Earle (FC Dallas)
AJ Cochran (Houston Dynamo)
Michael Lisch (Houston Dynamo)
Mika Vayrynen (LA Galaxy)
Timothy Mulgrew (New England Revolution)
Pablo Alvarez (New York City FC)
Sebastian Velasquez (New York City FC)
Leo Stolz (New York Red Bulls)
Adam Bedell (Orlando City SC)
Sidney Rivera (Orlando City SC)
Jeanderson Pereira (Portland Timbers)
Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi (San Jose Earthquakes)
Paulo Renato (San Jose Earthquakes)
Tomas Gomez (San Jose Earthquakes)
Michael Azira (Seattle Sounders)
Thomas Bedinelli (Seattle Sounders)
Andres Correa (Seattle Sounders)
Gonzaleo Pineda (Seattle Sounders)
Waiver draft goes Dec 9 at 3pm ET.
UPDATE: Dec 7 at 10pm -- Confirmed free agency class
UPDATE (Dec 7, 4pm)
PHILLY acquire Chris Pontius from D.C. United in exchange for both General and Targeted Allocation Money.
D.C. United acquire Lamar Neagle from Seattle in exchange for both General and Targeted Allocation Money
Houston acquires Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger to Philly for No 6 SuperDraft pick and General and Targeted Allocation Money
List of declined options and out of contract players (updated Dec 7)
Out of contract
Out of contract
Out of contract
Out of contract
Sean St. Ledger
Out of contract
Out of contract:
Out of contract
Out of contract
Out of contract
Out of contract
Out of contract
Out of contract
After a minor MLS mathematical miscalculation, Toronto FC can officially unwind if they wrap up a second consecutive playoff berth against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday at BMO Field (Kick-off 5:00 p.m. ET) and they might not even have to do the wrapping themselves.
Even if Toronto picks up a big fat 0 against Philly, they will still lock down their place in the post-season if the New England Revolution fails to win in Columbus, DC United don’t pick up maximum points at home to Orlando or if the New York Red Bulls beat the Montreal Impact.
With five games left to play in the regular season (four at home), the Reds (13-8-8) are two points clear in the East, with a game in hand. On 47 points, TFC sits five adrift of FC Dallas in the race for the Supporter’s Shield. If they fail to become the first Canadian team to achieve the feat of topping the MLS pile East and West, the goal remains securing a home tie in the playoffs.
Also in Toronto’s ideal future is a return for Sebastian Giovinco but it’s unlikely to be this weekend. The Italian striker, who hasn’t played in September was described by manager Greg Vanney on Thursday as “questionable.”
Unquestionable is the form of Giovinco’s fellow DPs. Jozy Altidore’s pair of goals in the 3-3 draw with New York Red Bulls made it eight in eight games for the big American while his national team captain Michael Bradley scored his first of the season to start the comeback. Meanwhile, Vanney has a tougher call to make at the other end of the pitch. Stick with Alex Bono, who has performed admirably in Clint Irwin’s absence, for the run-in and you are surely giving him the nod in goal for the post-season. Will be harsh on someone either way.
The Union (11-11-8) are just six points back of Toronto but are now winless in three games following the 2-1 defeat on the road in Portland last weekend. Chris Pontius will lead the offense after scoring his 11th goal of the season against the Timbers but teammate and striker C.J. Sapong is on a six-game scoring drought.
The teams last played just over a month ago in Philadelphia, with goals from Giovinco, Altidore and Drew Moor securing a 3-1 win. The Reds defeated their Pennsylvanian rivals at BMO twice last season.
Toronto FC: C.Irwin, S.Beitashour, E.Zavaleta, D.Moor, J.Morrow, M.Bradley, M.Delgado, J.Osorio, W.Johnson, J.Altidore, J.Hamilton
Philadelphia: A.Blake, Fabinho, R.Marquez, J.Yaro, K.Rosenberry, A.Bedoya, B.Carroll, T.Barnetta, C.Pontius, F.Herbers, C.J. Sapong
Referee: Ismail Elfath
With summer officially over, it’s back to work in Major League Soccer for Toronto FC. They travel to Chicago to take on the Fire this Saturday aiming to erase the memory of defeat to Montreal the last time they played. With both New York clubs winning during this pseudo international break, the Reds will hope to come out victorious at Toyota Park (Kick-off 8:30 p.m. ET) to take them back to the top of the Eastern Conference.
TFC (12-8-7) had gone seven games unbeaten before the calamity that befell BMO Field on August 27. Not only did the 1-0 result move the Montreal Impact to within six points behind their Canadian rivals with a game in hand, talisman Sebastian Giovinco went down with a quad injury. An adductor strain will keep him out until next week at the earliest.
While Jay Chapman is also still sidelined with an MCL tear picked up in August, there is brighter news for Greg Vanney who may be able to reinstate Clint Irwin in goal. Irwin played 90 minutes for TFCII last weekend as he continued his comeback from two months out.
The Fire (6-12-8) have enjoyed something of a mini resurgence of late, taking eight points from their last five games to leave them sitting just above the Columbus Crew at the root of the table. Most recently, they pasted fourth placed Philadelphia Union 3-0, with forward Michael de Leeuw leading the offence breakout. Less comforting to Chicago coach Veljko Paunovic, however, is the six goals his side shipped to DC United the week before. Surprisingly there are six teams with worse defensive records in the league.
Saturday’s game is the second of three games between the sides this season. Back in July, Justin Morrow scored the only goal of the game in Toronto to give his side the three points. Last season, TFC were on the wrong end of a 3-2 score line in Chicago.
The Reds have only one more road game once they return from Chicago for a four-game home stand. They will welcome the Fire to BMO for the final regular season game.
Chicago: S.Johnson, J.Meira, J.Kappelhof, J.Campbell, B.Vincent, R.Cocis M.Polster, J.Goossens, L.Solignac, A.Alvarez, M.de Leeuw
Toronto FC: C.Irwin, S.Beitashour, E.Zavaleta, D.Moor, J.Morrow, M.Bradley, M.Delgado, J.Osorio, T.Endoh, J.Altidore, T.Ricketts
Referee: Marcos Deoliveira
It can’t. Even if it literally is worse – say we lose 10-1 – it won’t be worse. Nothing can ever match that day. You can only have your heart torn out of your chest once.
If you survive that – and if you are reading this you did – you can survive anything. You are part of the zombie army of Canadian men’s national team fans. We may not be big in numbers, but we are stubborn in our irrational beliefs that one day this will all make sense.
It probably won’t. But, that’s OK. It’s the journey that counts, right?
And the journey never really ends. If Canada loses today – and they are far more likely to lose than they are going to win – then all that means is that we have to listen to drive-by reports about how horrible we are and how everything is hopeless and we should probably just fold the men’s programs.
So, like a Tuesday. Whatever. The reality is most of us will just google when men’s u-20 qualifying starts and get back to arguing with each other on the Voyageurs board.
But, if we win…
One day it will happen (maybe) and it will be a hell of a night. In the meantime we’ll just keep on keepin’ on with the understanding that we’ve already seen the bottom and still came back to watch Kyle Bekker play Denmark in Arizona.
Enjoy the game and keep some aspirin on the bedside table.
U-20 qualifying starts February 17, by the way.
Toronto FC remain undefeated in five games as their road trip heads to Philadelphia on Saturday. Despite the disappointment of only drawing with a shorthanded Dynamo in Houston amidst the chaos of a 24-hour rain delay, the 1-1 result secured the club’s highest ever points haul across five consecutive games.
The Reds (10-7-7) remain one point behind New York City FC in the race for the Eastern Conference title, with ten regular season games left to play. Meanwhile, the Union remain hot on their heels and a win on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium (Kick-off 7:00 p.m. ET) would pull Jim Curtin’s side level on points with their Canadian rivals.
Jozy Altidore will look to continue his goal-scoring form since returning from injury. The big American striker has scored three times in the last four games. While his offensive partner Sebastian Giovinco may lead the MLS Golden Boot race after his own hot-streak at home in Toronto, the little Italian hasn’t scored on the road since April 23 in Montreal.
Giovinco has a right to feel confident ahead of Saturday’s matchup – he helped Toronto to victory in all three of last year’s meetings between the teams, including a 1-0 win in Philadelphia, scoring in each game of the series.
Fullback Justin Morrow trained this week following the hip injury he suffered against Houston but his right-sided counterpart Mark Bloom, who went down with an ankle sprain in the same game, has not recovered in time. However, defenders Eriq Zavaleta and Steven Beitashour are available for selection. Clint Irwin remains at least a week away from a return in goal.
After picking up just five points in the previous seven matches, the Union (9-8-7) burst out with a 4-0 victory in New England last weekend. Despite their recent slide, attacking-midfielder Chris Pontius now has four goals in five games. U.S. international Alejandro Bedoya made his MLS debut against New England after his switch from French side Nantes. Fellow American Brian Carroll remains sidelined with a heel injury.
This week, TFC acquired Panamanian international midfielder Armando Cooper on loan from Club Deportivo Árabe Unido. Cooper, capped 74 times by his country, is waiting on a work permit and won’t feature this weekend. With Will Johnson’s return from injury imminent, the 28-year-old will provide additional options in midfield as Greg Vanney prepares the final flourishes to a playoff push.
Toronto FC: A.Bono, S.Beitashour, E.Zavaleta, D.Moor, J.Morrow, M.Bradley, M.Delgado, J.Osorio, T.Endoh, J.Altidore, S.Giovinco
Philadelphia: A.Blake, Fabinho, R.Marquez, K.Tribbet, K.Rosenberry, A.Bedoya, W.Creavalle, T.Barnetta, C.Pontius, Ilsinho, C.J. Sapong
Referee: Mark Geiger
After matching the most successful home-stand in franchise history, Toronto FC travel to face the Houston Dynamo on Saturday with more than just playoff ambitions.
Just one point separates the Reds from top spot in the Eastern Conference. With a superior goal difference to New York City FC, it feels like a matter of time before Toronto leads the way down the final stretch. The final whistle in Houston will mark ten games to go for Greg Vanney’s charges.
This is unfamiliar territory for TFC (10-7-6) and their long-suffering fans, who have driven their team to four straight wins at BMO Field. The Reds scored 12 goals and conceded just two during the momentous period.
For the players, Houston and the accompanying heat will be a stern test of their Supporters Shield credentials. The game at Compass Stadium (Kick-off 9:00 p.m. ET) begins a three-game road spin for the Reds whose away record reads 3-6-3.
“Of course it will be different on the road,” says Sebastian Giovinco. “But we have to have the same mentality.”
Now leading the MLS Golden Boot standings, Giovinco has seven goals in his last four games while his striking partner Jozy Altidore has two in three. Altidore score against Houston in their only meeting last season, when TFC slipped to a 2-1 home loss.
This weekend’s road game will also be a barometer of just how far rookie goalkeeper Alex Bono has come since his shaky debut back in June, when he came on for the injured Clint Irwin in Orlando and assisted in Toronto dropping a 3-2 result.
Club-captain Michael Bradley, on return from injury, was imperious against New England last weekend. Greg Vanney will be pleased the return of the Yankee general didn’t disrupt the midfield dynamism fuelled by youth and in particular Marky Delgado, who anchored the diamond in the absence of Bradley and Benoit Cheyrou. The Frenchman is close to a return himself from a short layoff with a hamstring problem.
Meanwhile the Dynamo (4-10-8) sit last place in the West, winless in five games after a 1-0 defeat in Montreal. Wade Barrett’s side have struggled for goals during the fallow period, finding the net only once.
American Will Bruin has lead the line for the Orangemen since Jamaican striker Giles Barnes was traded to Vancouver last month. Despite the current trouble of the two-time MLS Cup winners, Toronto haven’t won in Houston since 2010. By Saturday’s end we’ll may know if this incarnation of TFC is for real.
Toronto FC: A.Bono, S.Beitashour, J.Williams, D.Moor, J.Morrow, M.Bradley, J.Chapman, J.Osorio, T.Endoh, T.Ricketts, S.Giovinco
Houston Dynamo: J.Willis, A.Mansally, J.Anibaba, D.Horst, S.Williams, C.Warner, B.Garcia, C.Maidana, R.Clark, A.Wenger, W.Bruin
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Toronto FC would be forgiven for feeling a little light headed on Saturday when they host the New England Revolution. Following three wins on the bounce, the Reds find themselves in unfamiliar heady climbs.
Less than three weeks ago, the Reds suffered what was arguably their worst defeat of the season, turning a two-man advantage into a 2-1 loss away to the San Jose Earthquakes. Nine points in three subsequent home games has seen them storm to second places in the Eastern Conference, three points behind New York City FC, with a healthier goal difference and a game in hand.
Saturday’s matchup with the Revs at BMO Field (Kick-off 7:30 p.m. ET) is the last of the four-game home stand that has uncovered a new and pulsing confidence on the pitch and in the stands.
Rookie goalkeeper Alex Bono has settled any debate about whether he deserves to wear the gloves in Clint Irwin’s absence. Marky Delgado has rendered the absence of Benoit Cheyrou and Michael Bradley in the midfield a non-issue and TFC’s offensive future looks bright with youngsters Tsubasa Endoh and Jay Chapman.
On Wednesday night against Real Salt Lake, Canadian Tosaint Ricketts got off the mark for his new club, while Jozy Altidore bagged the first of his season last weekend as TFC regained the Trillium Cup versus the Columbus Crew.
Toronto (9-7-6) will look to solidify their claim to the best defense in the East (23 goals conceded) against Kei Kamara, who matched Giovinco’s 22-goal haul last season. Only David Villa has more than the Italian this year. Kamara has nine in total, but only four in 11 since transferring from Columbus Crew in May. In shutting out RSL, the Reds secured a club record breaking ninth clean sheet of the season.
New England (6-8-6) have steadied the ship after three consecutive defeats at the start of July, claiming seven points from their last four games. But they’ll seek to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat in Orlando last weekend with the services of striker and fan favourite Charlie Davies, who was traded to the Philadelphia Union before the MLS transfer deadline on Wednesday.
Jay Heaps’s side struggled against the Orlando press, something that TFC have done with much success in recent games. In the 1-0 win against Real Salt Lake, the Reds alternated between periods of sustained possession and others of compact defence. With an average age of 22, the midfield seems equipped for such physically taxing responsibility.
The last time these sides met at BMO Field, the Revs came out 3-1 winners in September last year, as TFC were stumbling into the playoffs. Sebastian Giovinco secured a 1-1 draw in New England back in April.
Toronto: A.Bono, S.Beitashour, E.Zavaleta, D.Moor, J.Morrow, M.Delgado, J.Chapman, J.Osorio, T.Endoh, J.Altidore, S.Giovinco
New England Revolution: B.Shuttleworth, C.Tierney, J.Goncalves, A.Farrell, L.Woodberry, S.Caldwell, J.Watson, K.Rowe, L.Nguyen, T.Bunbury, K.Kamara
Referee: Ted Unkel
Sebastian Giovinco snapped an eight-game scoring drought in spectacular fashion against D.C. United last Saturday but with a sense of timing only the Toronto soccer gods could conjure, he may be missing for the visit of the Columbus Crew on Sunday (Kick-off 7:30 p.m. ET).
After netting a hat-trick featuring two direct free kicks bookended by a six-yard box strike, the Italian jetted off to join the MLS All-Stars team in San Jose. The league’s best will play storied English club Arsenal Thursday night. Giovinco may have to settle for place on the bench depending on how many minutes he’s deployed against the Gunners.
Sunday’s game at BMO is the third and final installment of the Trillium Cup this season. The rivals faced off most recently just two weeks ago in Columbus, Jordan Hamilton securing a 1-1 draw for the Reds. Back in May, the sides played out a 0-0 in Toronto and a repeat would see the Cup return to Canada on away goals.
In the second of a four-game home stretch, TFC (7-7-6) will look to build on what was perhaps the team’s strongest performance of the season against D.C. That that result came on the heels of the crushing defeat to nine-man San Jose the week previous will give Greg Vanney hope that with the return of Jozy Altidore, the addition of Tosaint Ricketts and other stars (M.Bradley, W.Johnson) to come back, this group of Reds can finally put a run of MLS form together.
Altidore and Ricketts each played only 20 minutes against D.C. but while the new Canadian recruit missed a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, the presence of both gave the side new offensive dimensions. American striker Altidore will most likely start against Columbus, with Ricketts maybe in behind. It is unlikely that Vanney would play with both Altidore and the man who has subbed for him for the past two months, Jordan Hamilton.
Columbus (3-7-10) are winless in eight games and have slid to second from bottom in the division. However, while Gregg Berhalter’s side have conceded 14 goals in the fallow period, they remain a threat offensively. Norwegian striker Ola Kamara scored his 10th goal in 14 games against Orlando last weekend, a game that also saw the return of midfield maestro Federico Higuain.
TFC have wrestled back the best defensive in the East (23 conceded), with more than a little thanks to Eriq Zavaleta, who has become a mainstay at centre back. The U.S. native, who will celebrate his 24th birthday next week, has been subject of eligibility interest from the El Salvador national team as revealed by the Toronto Sun’s Kurt Larson.
Toronto: A.Bono, E.Zavaleta, J.Williams, D.Moor, J.Morrow, B.Cheyrou, M.Delgado, T.Ricketts, J.Chapman, T.Endoh, J.Altidore
Columbus Crew: S.Clark, H.Afful, M.Parkhurst, T.Wahl, C.Ashe, W.Trapp, T.Tchani, J.Meram, F.Higuain, Cedrick, O.Kamara
Referee: Allen Chapman