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

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced 16 additional deaths Thursday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
No easing of Alberta’s COVID-19 measures Thursday, 678 new COVID-19 cases

The province also hit 1,500 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic

File photo
Leduc RCMP lay charges in theft of catalytic converters

Two males arresed and charged with theft of several catalytic converters.

Black Press file photo
UPDATE: Leduc RCMP on scene of serious collision at intersection of Highway 2A and Highway 616

Both drivers were transported to hospital in serious condition; all lanes of travel now open.

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, updates media on the COVID-19 situation in Edmonton, Friday, March 20, 2020. Hinshaw says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta long-term care residents remain priority in looming slowdown of COVID vaccine

There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
‘Gut punch’: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney blasts Biden on revoked Keystone XL permit

Kenney said he was upset the U.S. wouldn’t consult with Canada first before acting

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Calgary flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

(Photo submitted)
Community Futures brings back Social Media Challenge for 2021

This time the challenge is for non-profits and community groups

Lucas Berg, left, with the backpacks filled with essential items he donated to the Red Deer Mustard Seed Jan. 19, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Central Alberta teenager donates filled 20 backpacks to Red Deer Mustard Seed

Lucas Berg, 14, of Ponoka County says he ‘just wants to help people’

A conveyor belt transports coal at the Westmoreland Coal Co.’s Sheerness mine near Hanna, Alta., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Coal mining impacts are already occurring in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains even as debate intensifies over the industry’s presence in one of the province’s most beloved landscapes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
As Alberta debates coal mining, industry already affecting once-protected Rockies

UCP revoked a policy that had protected eastern slopes of the Rockies from open-pit coal mining since 1976

Most Read