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Jun 14, 2024 7:41 pm

Toronto FC out to shore up defense vs. improving Fire

Federico Bernardeschi

For two weeks, Toronto FC have sat on a draw that they felt should have been a win.

Now Toronto FC returns to action Saturday night when they welcome the Chicago Fire to BMO Field.

Toronto FC (7-7-3, 24 points) coughed up a 2-0 lead on June 1 at DC United, settling for a 2-2 draw that stung coach John Herdman.

“At 2-0, I thought we were in control,” he said. “It’s all about game management, which this team have got to develop. Championship teams are able to settle on the ball in those moments and take away that direct rhythm.

“We just needed to shift rhythm. You can go direct, but then you’ve got to start getting back into our draw, the play-behind strategy and opposite-opposite rhythms that you saw in the first half.”

This match will start the season’s second half for Toronto FC, which sit sixth in the Eastern Conference. They are being paced offensively by forwards Federico Bernardeschi (seven goals, four assists) and Prince Owusu (six goals). The team ranks 10th in MLS with 26 goals but 21st defensively with 26 goals allowed.

Meanwhile, Chicago (3-8-6, 15 points) snapped a nine-match winless streak (0-5-4) in its last match on June 1, stopping the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1. Brian Gutierrez provided the winning marker in the 61st minute, intercepting a pass near midfield and converting off the post from 25 yards.

“Much better now that the results are better,” said forward Hugh Cuypers, who had the team’s other goal. “The last three performances have been good and hopefully it can continue this way.

“The goal is to continue to create and score goals like we have done the last couple of games. We have a few away games in a row, which will be challenging, but the position we’ve put ourselves in doesn’t give us any option other than taking points on the road.”

Toronto FC own a 14-11-12 record in regular-season matchups with Chicago.

–Field Level Media

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