Three Question Preview - Toronto FC vs FC Cincinnati
FC Cincinnati faces off Toronto today at 3pm after coming off of a moral victory that sadly counted as a loss in MLS. The FC comes into this matchup banged up and shorthanded both by unfortunate circumstance and unfortunate scientific illiteracy.
The Orange and Blue have been on a really poor run for form that hasn’t felt all that bad. Over their last five matches there was the 2-0 loss to Charlotte in which they cheated to get their best player on the field and Cincinnati really didn’t look like the worst side. Then there was the 4-3 thriller vs Montreal that was absurd but Cincinnati led in that one with 25 minutes left to play. Then there was the 0-0 draw vs Atalanta that really felt like a win after going down a man and being out shot 22 to 10. Then last week there was the unnecessarily dramatic win vs Pittsburgh and then the aforementioned moral victory/loss to LAFC (MLS’s best team mind you).
FCC has had a weird season so far where the process is working but the results aren’t following, yet. On Reddit user u/SleepyBurglar posted an “expected goals/expected points” chart that shows FC Cincinnati ought to be in 8th place, just one spot outside of the playoffs. Similarly, that same chart shows Toronto ought to be at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
In reality Toronto is in 5th place in the East and Cincy is in last. Reality is overrated.
Toronto, for their part, have been on a tear. They lost an absurd match against NYCFC last week 5-4, but before that they’ve won 3 matches and drew one. Their 15 goals scored in MLS puts them second in the East in goals scored but, and this might be hard to believe, they’ve given up more goals than FC Cincinnati so far.
So what am I looking at this one? One thing that won't make the questions but something I'll be excited for is the debut of new Designated Player Obinna Nwobodo. I don't expect him to start and I'm 50/50 if he'll even play, but he did travel with the team. If he does play expect him to get about 30 minutes in the second half. Then I'd expect a start next week against, well it's Toronto again.
On to the preview.
Three Question Preview
Who will be have better Goalkeeper?
So this is a fun one. Kann is still on the injury report. Vermeer was on the injury report against LAFC. Beckham Sunderland is probably not featuring in this one either. Leaving the man who started the last two matched Roman Celentano. The 1st round MLS Super Draft pick has shown well in his appearances so far, but a rookie goalkeeper always feels risky.
On the other side Toronto is still rolling out Alex Bono who has been struggling as of late. As previously mentioned Toronto has given up more goals than anyone in the East and previous managers to Bradley tried replacing Bono at different points. Yet he remains.
I expect goalkeeping to determine the result here and right now, I think I’d bet on Celentano.
Will Brenner get on the scoresheet?
As I said before, The FC is playing a bad defense and a struggling goalkeeper. If I was a young designated player, a striker, and someone needing to find my form I’d be excited about this matchup. This is the one where I think we can see Brenner bag multiple goals. In fact a match where Brenner scores and FCC walks away with a draw will be yet another moral victory.
Who else didn’t travel?
A morbid curiosity of mine, who isn’t allowed to travel to Canada due to vaccination rules? Like a shitty boxer, we know Geoff Cameron can’t take a jab. But who else? Last year Stanko and Kamohelo Mokotjo were also on the “I have a really poor social media diet” list. But surely Geoff isn’t alone this year. If I were the team I’d cleverly invent a “knock” for a pro-plague player but maybe, just maybe, they’ll let the names out. Then we can mock them like they deserve to be.
Here’s how I see things lining up.
2-2 draw with Brenner getting two. Celentano is too young and this backline too thin to expected a clean sheet, Toronto’s position in the table is a mirage, and this is one that FCC should expected to get a result from.