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Crossing the Touchline: Crew at Toronto FC

We check in on The Reds before the final match between the two sides on Wednesday.

Sam Fahmi - Massive Report

It’s been a few months since the Columbus Crew and Toronto FC battled at Field to a 2-1 Crew victory. Since then, the two sides have taken vastly different roads. Columbus’ victory against Toronto in March looked like the beginning of a Black & Gold return to the top of the league. On the other side, another early speedbump for Toronto appeared to be the start of a difficult year up north.

Those storylines faded quickly and Wednesday’s match at BMO Field in Toronto looks like it will be important points for either side. To get caught up on how TFC has been for the last three months, Massive Report spoke with Waking the Red editor Jeffrey Nesker.

What Massive Report found is a side that features the same injury bug as Columbus but the concerns of Toronto make the Black & Gold’s injury report look okay. Also, TFC is a side that’s starting to adjust to a new coach.

Here’s what Nesker had to say about a different Reds side than Crew supporters saw earlier in 2022.

Massive Report: Since Toronto and Columbus played on March 12, TFC has found a goal-scoring steadiness. In 13 league matches following the loss, Toronto has scored multiple goals per match and only has five matches where the team scored less than two goals. What’s started clicking? Is it coach Bob Bradley’s system finally clicking or the emergence of a specific player or players?

Waking the Red: Let’s call this the beginning of the Bob Bradley system at Toronto FC. It took some time, but considering the almost total roster turnover and the relative age of most of the squad, it was to be expected. Also, considering how leaky our defense has been all season, the only way we’re getting any results is by outscoring an opponent.

MR: Toronto is moving up the standings and now sits ahead of Columbus, but is doing it allowing far more goals than the team is scoring. What are the weak areas in the TFC defense that Crew supporters should watch on Wednesday?

WTR: Where do I start? Thanks to injuries, we haven’t fielded our presumed first choice center back pairing beyond a few games, so it’s been a revolving door back there. Our fullback core contains no actual fullbacks - they are all converted attackers and they are all young, so they can and do get exposed often. All part of the process, we like to tell ourselves.

MR: Like Toronto, the Crew is waiting for the club’s big summer signing to debut in a couple of weeks. With Lorenzo Insigne on standby, is he the piece that will push the Reds back into an MLS Cup playoff team?

JN: He will have an effect. How soon and to what degree are the questions reverberating around TFC land at present.