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Preview: Toronto vs. FC Cincinnati – prediction, team news, lineups



Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Major League Soccer clash between Toronto and FC Cincinnati, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

First place in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings is within reach for FC Cincinnati as they travel to BMO Field on Saturday to face Toronto.

Thanks to a 3-1 victory over St Louis City last weekend, the Orange and Blue trail Inter Miami for first overall by just a single point, while the Reds clobbered CF Montreal 5-1, moving up to fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Match preview

© Reuters

The Toronto attack has sprung to life throughout the month of May, scoring 21 goals in their previous six competitive fixtures.

John Herdman built up a reputation as a miracle worker for the Canadian men’s and women’s national teams, and he has done the same with TFC, who have 22 points in MLS thus far, eight more than they had after 14 league fixtures a year ago.

Five of their seven MLS victories this season have occurred at BMO Field, which is one more than they managed in this competition last season.

TFC have found the back of the net in all of their competitive home games this season, winning their last two matches played at BMO Field by a combined margin of 13-2.

Since squandering a 1-0 lead at home to New York City FC in the middle of March, Toronto have won seven consecutive matches in all competitions when scoring the opening goal.

The Reds have not beaten Cincinnati in a regular-season contest since September 2021, when they erased a 1-0 half-time deficit and won 3-2 at BMO Field.

FC Cincinnati head coach Pat Noonan before the game on March 3, 2024© Reuters

With all of the star power and attention focused around Inter Miami throughout the campaign, many might not notice that the Orange and Blue are putting together another stellar regular season.

Fresh off winning the Supporters’ Shield in 2023, Pat Noonan‘s men are in the hunt to become the first side in this competition to claim that honour in successive seasons since the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2010 and 2011.

Last weekend, Cincy won their sixth successive regular-season encounter of 2024, equalling a club record set last year, while they are within striking distance of Miami, with a game in hand on the Herons.

Like a year ago, they have looked compact and tidy on the back end in 2024, conceding the fewest goals in MLS this season (11).

When games are tight and the tension rises, Cincinnati seem to be at their best, with eight of their nine league victories this year being by a single goal.

Cincy are unbeaten in their last five regular season encounters against Toronto, winning by a single goal in each of their last two visits to BMO Field.

Toronto Major League Soccer form:

Toronto form (all competitions):

FC Cincinnati Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Toronto FC head coach John Herdman yells on February 24, 2024© Reuters

Last weekend, Jonathan Osorio sat out with a thigh issue, while Toronto were also without Richie Laryea, who is dealing with a hamstring strain and Shane O’Neill did not feature due to a quad injury.

Brandon Servania remains sidelined with a ruptured ACL, and Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty was questionable heading into their match with Montreal due to a hamstring issue but came on as a substitute.

Federico Bernardeschi bagged a hat-trick in their previous MLS clash, moving into a tie with Prince Owusu for the team lead, with the German scoring his sixth of the season in his return from suspension, while their other strike came courtesy of Matty Longstaff, his second of the domestic campaign.

The Orange and Blue were missing Miles Robinson in their victory over St. Louis City after he was hurt in a clash of heads with Giorgos Giakoumakis of Atlanta United, Corey Baird sat out with a hip issue and Alvas Powell was dealing with a hamstring strain.

Aaron Boupendza missed their previous encounter with a broken jaw, and DeAndre Yedlin did not play because of a lingering hip injury.

The reigning league MVP Luciano Acosta set a new club record with a goal contribution in his eighth successive MLS encounter, while the other Cincy goals came courtesy of Sergio Santos and Yuya Kubo.

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Johnson; Rosted, Gomis, Petretta; Bernardeschi, Coello, Longstaff, Spicer; Etienne, Insigne; Owusu

FC Cincinnati possible starting lineup:
Celentano; Keller, Miazga, Murphy; Halsey, Nwobodo, Bucha, Orellano; Acosta; Santos, Valenzuela

SM words green background

We say: Toronto 1-2 FC Cincinnati

The Reds are vastly improved this year, but most of their contributions have come from their Designated Players, while they have not played many solid defensive units in recent games.

Cincinnati have the composure needed to handle hostile environments and thrive in close games, and that consistency could propel them to a seventh successive MLS triumph.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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