Toronto FC-FC Cincinnati Preview

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Toronto FC’s season is like being “in quicksand” according to team president Bill Manning, as the Eastern Conference’s bottom club prepare to take on FC Cincinnati.

After an initial bounce under interim coach Javier Perez following Chris Armas’ dismissal, Toronto has lost four successive matches and are without a win in six games.

It has left them with just 15 points, the lowest total across either conference in MLS.

“(The description) I’ve used is we’re in quicksand right now,” said team president Manning.

“And every time you get a little bit of something, maybe a branch, and then the branch breaks right as you try to pull yourself out.

“When we were in Florida, we found ways to lose. And when we came home, we weren’t able to find a way to win.

“Every game, the pressure to win every game became too much in some ways. And I think it drained the team and put us to where we are now. Our record is who we are.”

However, Toronto would leapfrog Cincinnati into 13th place should they win on Saturday.

Cincinnati looked to have held out for a draw with Inter Miami last week, only to concede in the dying moments, and they have not won since beating Toronto back in June.

Jaap Stam may well be under pressure, but Tyler Blackett – the former Manchester United defender who has recently joined Cincinnati – is looking forward to working with a coach he also worked under at Reading.

“He’s always been great for me and the players which he’s coached,” Blackett said last week. “He’s a very good coach and I’m happy to work with him again.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

FC Cincinnati – Tyler Blackett

Blackett did not feature against Miami but after a full week of training could be in line to make his MLS debut.

Toronto FC – Alejandro Pozuelo

Pozuelo was a star of 2020, but injury derailed the start of this season and he has scored just one goal in 13 appearances this term. He needs to step up if Toronto are to rise up the standings.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Cincinnati earned its first points against Toronto FC when the sides last met on June 26, recording a 2-0 win in Orlando. Toronto had won the first three meetings between the sides, including two victories in Cincinnati.

– Cincinnati’s club record winless run extended to 12 games with a 1-0 loss to Inter Miami on Saturday (D7 L5). Cincinnati has lost three straight matches after losing only two of the first nine matches of this streak.

– Toronto has lost four straight matches and is winless in seven in a row (D2 L5). The Reds’ 15 points after 22 games are the fewest they’ve ever had at this stage of a season, breaking the previous low of 18 in the 2011 campaign. Last season, Toronto had a club-record 44 points after 22 matches.

– Cincinnati is winless in 12 straight home matches (D5 L7) dating back to a 2-1 win over the Crew in October 2020. It’s the second-longest home winless run in MLS history, behind only a 14-match streak by Cincinnati ahead of that win over Columbus.

– No team has had more different goalscorers than Toronto (17) this season. Excluding own goals, Toronto’s last 11 goals have been scored by 11 different players dating back to early July.

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