With the start of the 2022 MLS regular season just six weeks away, it’s time to start preparing for the campaign ahead.
Here, in chronological order, are ten of the most anticipated games on the Toronto FC schedule.
The TFC will start the season at FC Dallas at the end of February. Bob Bradley’s first game at the helm, opening day is always a special occasion after a long offseason.
Dallas missed the playoffs last season and replaced Luchi Gonzalez, who left in September, with Nico Estevez, an assistant to Gregg Berhalter on both the Columbus Crew and the United States men’s national team. The sale of Ricardo Pepi to German club FC Augsburg will see them short of their most obvious goal threat and it comes in handy to avoid one of the longest drives to the Western Conference while avoiding the summer heat from Texas.
March 5 vs. New York Red Bulls
It will likely be a bit cold on the shores of Lake Ontario, but returning to BMO Field to see the Reds return to the field after a few months away is sure to bring smiles.
It’s been a weird few seasons for TFC when it comes to playing at home.
In 2020, the club played one game before the world turned around and they were forced to end the season in East Hartford, Connecticut. 2021 has been a little better with TFC able to return to Toronto midway through the year after spending the first few months playing “home” in Orlando, Florida.
Hopefully this year the team can enjoy the comforts of home for the entire schedule.
Gerhard Struber’s side were knocked out of the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs in heartbreaking fashion, losing 1-0 in the dying moments of extra time against the Philadelphia Union. They added a few players with MLS experience via trade – Lewis Morgan from Inter Miami CF and Dylan Nealis from Nashville SC – but saw several departures, including captain Sean Davis who left as a free agent for the Tennessee.
April 2 against New York City FC
The first weeks of the season are all about leveling up. The schedule is designed for teams to play just one game a week and with a FIFA international break scheduled for the end of March, Toronto, like most teams, will have played just four games in the first month. of the season.
That changes in April. The visit of defending MLS Cup champions NYCFC marks the first of ten matches over the next two months.
Ronny Deila’s team achieved what so many entertaining teams failed to do before. Victories over Atlanta United, the New England Revolution (in a penalty shootout) and Philadelphia saw NYCFC go through the Eastern Conference class en route to the MLS Cup final. They scored first against Portland, only to be level with virtually the last kick of the game, but were clinical from the penalty spot, winning the shootout 4-2.
May 8 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Vancouver may be a continent and a conference away, but Canadian cousin games in MLS are always a measuring stick. Although games against the Whitecaps are rarer than those against CF Montreal, there is fierce competition whenever these two teams meet.
As interim manager, Vanni Sartini breathed new life into Vancouver at the end of the 2021 season by guiding them to a post-season spot and despite being knocked out by Sporting KC in the first round, he was rewarded with the full-time gig.
Brimming with good talent, both domestic and international youngsters, who have now had a season or two to sample MLS, Vancouver will be looking to take the next steps this season.
This match will be a good warm-up for the intensity TFC will face when they travel to Montreal on July 16 during Rivalry Week.
June 18 at the New York Red Bulls
Not so much for the game itself, this RBNY away game kicks off the meat of the 2022 season. More than half of the 34-game schedule will take place over a three-month period from this date. .
With two FIFA international breaks, Toronto will face the Red Bulls after a two-week break which will see the first four matches of the 2022-23 Concacaf Nations League. Tasty home matches against Atlanta and Columbus will close out the month and six matches in July and August will lead to three more matches in early September before that international window.
18 matches. 54 points. This is where positioning heading into the final playoff push will be won and lost.
July 2 vs. Seattle Sounders FC
Given the history between the two clubs, three MLS Cup final clashes, games against the Sounders always take on added significance.
Add to that this will be the first game that Lorenzo Insigne should be available for and this one is not to be missed.
Brian Schmetzer’s side continued their presence at the top of the Western Conference last season, finishing second, just one point behind the Colorado Rapids, but stumbled in the MLS Cup playoffs, losing a one-sided deal to a Real very defensive. Salt Lake in a shootout after a 0-0 draw.
They also made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason, signing Albert Rusnak from Salt Lake as a Designated Player.
The first-ever game against MLS’s new expansion team falls right in the middle of a busy time of year for the TFC.
Led by Spain head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez, Charlotte used all internal player acquisition mechanisms – trades, free agency and expansion draft – to enrich herself with a variety of MLS experiences like Harrison Afful (Columbus), Jaylin Lindsey (Kansas City), Anton Walkes (Atlanta), Christian Makoun (Miami), Yordy Reyna (DC) and Pablo Sisniega (LAFC) while looking to bolster this group with international signings from Europe and… South America, including Austrian defender Christian Fuchs of Leicester City and Brazilian teenager Vinicius Mello of SC International.
Expansion seasons are always a tough prospect and it remains to be seen how this diverse group will come together. Toronto will face CLTFC twice this year with the return game scheduled for Bank of America Stadium on August 27.
August 31 vs. Los Angeles Galaxy
Greg Vanney’s return to BMO Field, however he came, was always going to be a big moment.
Vanney, who first joined the club as academy manager, took over the managerial reins at the end of the 2014 season and in the seasons that followed helped the club to new heights record, including an MLS Cup victory, a Supporters’ Shield, three Eastern Conference Championships, the Concacaf Champions League final and three Voyageurs Cup titles before returning at the end of the 2020 season.
In his first year with the Galaxy, Vanney’s team narrowly missed out on a playoff berth, being beaten by Salt Lake in the tiebreaker. The departures of key pieces – Jonathan dos Santos and Sebastian Lletget – leave work to be done.
Vanney will bring with him former Red Raheem Edwards, who joined recently, but for now Victor Vazquez, who was so crucial to TFC’s success before joining Vanney in Los Angeles, has had his option turned down and hasn’t not re-signed yet.
September 4 c. CF Montreal
Wilfried Nancy’s side will make their only league visit to BMO Field in early September as the final stretch of the 2022 MLS Cup playoffs begins.
Having assumed the role of manager following the surprise departure of Thierry Henry, Nancy, a longtime assistant coach at Montreal, impressed in his first season, navigating the delicate task of overseeing a Florida-based team for the first half of the campaign. .
A slump in form at a crucial time at the end of the year doomed their hopes of a playoff berth – Montreal finished tenth, two points adrift – but in its second season, under more normal circumstances, Nancy and company will look to build on that momentum. .
And while the departure of Rudy Camacho has left a void in the defense and leadership squad, the acquisition of Canadian prop Alastair Johnston has been a big addition to the backline.
October 9 at the Philadelphia Union
While the goal is to have secured a playoff spot long before that point, this final weekend of the MLS regular season still provides entertainment.
Toronto will close out the season at Jim Curtin’s men in early October – the two will meet at BMO Field on April 16.
A top three team in the Eastern Conference for the past three years, including the 2020 Supporters Shield, Curtin has made the Union one of the most consistent teams in the league. An MLS Cup has proven elusive, but dramatic victories over the Red Bulls (Jacob Glesnes’ last-minute bombshell) and Nashville (in a shootout) saw them advance to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2021 where they fell to eventual MLS Cup winners NYCFC.
A largely settled team, Philadelphia have only made one addition so far – Julian Carranza on loan from Inter Miami – although the departures of defender Alvas Powell, veteran presence Aurelien Collin and joker Ilsinho have left some gaps to fill.
A full season of MLS action awaits us and while these ten games have been circled on the schedule, in this league they are not easy games. It all starts at the end of February, leading up to the MLS Cup final set to be played earlier this season on November 5, with the FIFA World Cup starting later that month in Qatar.
The year is coming for Toronto FC and for soccer in Canada. Be excited.