New England, Toronto FC face off for first place in MLS is Back Tournament group

New England, Toronto FC face off for first place in MLS is Back Tournament group

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The New England Revolution, whose defence has been breached just once in two games at the MLS is Back Tournament, expects a stiff test Tuesday from the Toronto FC attack.

Only Los Angeles FC, with nine goals, had scored more than Toronto’s six prior to Monday night’s Orlando-Philadelphia game at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex.

Toronto striker Ayo Akinola, filling in for Jozy Altidore while the U.S international regains full fitness, has five goals in two games. Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo has five assists, all on Akinola’s goals.

“They have the leading goal-scorer (Akinola) in the tournament, probably the leading goal-scorer in the league right now,” New England coach Bruce Arena said in his team’s pre-game availability. “A lot of people would say Pozuelo’s arguably the best player in the league, among others. He’s their playmaker and he’s a player we have to be aware of.

“But having said all this, who knows what kind of lineup they’ll present? Our biggest focus is on getting our team ready.”

The already potent Toronto offence could be boosted by a cameo from Altidore, who did not dress for TFC’s first two outings.

Tuesday’s victor will claim first place in Group C, which means an extra day’s rest and a date Sunday with one of the third-place finishers that advances to the knockout round of 16.

The loser would drop into third in the group if D.C. United beats Montreal in the later game Tuesday. A Toronto-New England tie combined with a D.C. United win would leave all three teams in five points, with tiebreakers coming into play.

“There are a lot of variables associated with this,” said Arena. “We have no guarantees of anything, although the probability is that we will advance out of group play.”

Both Toronto and New England have one win and one tie going into the game.

The Group C runner-up faces the second-place team from Group A, either Orlando or Philadelphia, on Saturday.

The Toronto-New England game kicks off at 9 a.m. ET, the first morning start for the Revs and second for TFC.

“We’ll make some changes because of the heat, humidity, and the short recovery from Friday night is a lot of wear and tear on players playing three games in a short period of time,” said Arena.

New England’s Spanish playmaker Carles Gil is questionable with a lingering left foot injury. Gil came out of Friday’s 1-1 tie with D.C. United in the 62nd minute.

Toronto fullback Justin Morrow, who exited Toronto’s tournament opener at halftime due to Achilles tendinitis, remains out. Midfielder Jonathan Osorio, who has yet to play, is questionable with a quad strain.

The TFC injury report makes no mention of Altidore, who spent the lockdown at his Florida home and was late rejoining the team after having to fulfil quarantine upon returning north of the border.

The Impact, who lost their first two games of the tournament, meet D.C. United in a 10:30 p.m. ET start.

“The only thing I can do right now is to be positive,” Montreal coach Thierry Henry said at his team’s availability, dismissing excuses from the Florida heat and humidity to Montreal’s late return to full team training due to local restrictions back home.

“We have to be positive. We have to go forward. We have to believe in what we’re trying to do,” he added. “And we have to trust the process. Now we have to be better in that process, obviously.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2020.

The Canadian Press

soccer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced the province surpasses one million COVID-19 tests Friday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
COVID-19: Central zone active cases up by 100 in last 24 hours

Most central Alberta communities under province’s enhanced measures list

.
Alberta confirmed more than 1,500 COVID-19 cases Sunday

Central zone active cases slightly up

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

Traffic crosses over the Lions Gate Bridge from North Vancouver into Vancouver on July 2, 2015. Motorists would have to pay a fee to drive into downtown Vancouver under the city's plan to slow climate change but one expert warns it could pose financial hardship for some. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver’s climate plan ‘first 10 steps in a journey of 10,000,’ says expert

Almost 40 per cent of Vancouver’s carbon pollution comes from vehicles

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
After COVID-related transplant delays, 16-year-old N.S. girl gets lung transplant

‘This is the difficult time now of seeing Tahlia in ICU hooked up to 15 IVs and sedated’

Britain's Princess Anne The Princess Royal, right, talks to NATO delegates from left, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during a reception at Buckingham Palace, in London, as Nato leaders attend to mark 70 years of the alliance, Tuesday Dec. 3, 2019.  While NATO leaders are publicly professing unity as they gather for the London summit, several seem to have been caught in an unguarded exchange on camera apparently gossiping about U.S. President Donald Trump’s behaviour. In footage recorded during the Buckingham Palace reception on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was seen standing in a huddle with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Britain’s Princess Anne. (Yui Mok/Pool via AP)
Canada, Britain strike new trade, beating Brexit, incorporating expiring EU pact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British counterpart, Boris Johnson, announced the deal Saturday

Most Read