Bob Bradley confirmed Toronto’s latest Italian recruit, full-back Domenico Criscito, could make his debut against San Jose as the defender targeted using his experience to reinvigorate the side.
Toronto are 12th in the 14-team Eastern Conference after suffering successive MLS losses, but have been boosted by the additions of Criscito and Lorenzo Insigne – who is not yet available to play.
The former Zenit St. Petersburg and Genoa man hopes his experience will help the Reds climb the table, and Bradley suggested he could make his debut immediately.
“I’m very happy to be here,” Criscito said. “It’s already a great experience and I can’t wait to be available for the first game on Saturday, to be available for the team and help my teammates.
“I’ve played at very high levels. I want to bring that experience here on and off the field. For sure I can give my experience as a captain to all the players, but especially for the younger players.”
“Criscito has been in training,” Bradley added. “He will be available for the game and we’ll see, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow and what that means.”
San Jose have posted back-to-back wins after seeing off Chicago last time out, and Alex Covelo is pleased with their recent development, even if work remains to be done defensively.
“We need to keep improving and stay focused on how to better defend the box in order to defend well,” Covelo said.
“The team is improving, obviously [other teams] are going to create opportunities, if not goals would not happen. We are still working on that, and we are going to be better every day.
“It’s something that we need to keep working on. We need to also remember that is been three and a half years working in a different system.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Toronto FC – Jonathan Osorio
Besides Spanish duo Jesus Jimenez and Alejandro Pozuelo, no Reds player has any many goal contributions (seven) as Canadian midfielder Osorio in 2022, who will hope to add to his four goals and three assists as Toronto wait on new star Insigne’s availability.
San Jose Earthquakes – Benjamin Kikanovic
Kikanovic’s brace last time out represented the first time he had scored multiple goals in a single game in his career, and he will be hoping to carry that form north of the border for Covelo’s men.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– San Jose are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Toronto (W1 D2), with the last match ending in a 2-2 draw in February 2020. The Earthquakes ended a three-match losing streak at Toronto on their last visit to BMO Field, winning 2-1 in May 2019.
– Toronto FC’s 2-0 defeat to Seattle on Saturday was their eighth loss in 11 games (W2 D1) and their 10th loss of the season. The Reds have only had more losses at this stage of a season once in the club’s MLS history, losing 11 of their first 18 games in 2012.
– San Jose picked up their fourth win of the season when beating the Fire 2-1 on Sunday. All four of the Earthquakes’ wins this season have come at home, as they are one of three teams (Toronto, Colorado) without a road win in 2022 (D2 L6).
– Toronto FC continued to climb an unwanted list on Saturday, with the 2-0 loss to Seattle marking the 26th straight match the Reds have conceded in, tied for the sixth-longest streak in MLS history.
– Toronto have now kept just one clean sheet in their last 48 MLS matches, dating back to May 2021.