Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake | 2018 MLS Match Preview

Toronto FC celebration-TFC-Tigres-CCL

Toronto FC vs. Real Salt Lake
2018 MLS Regular Season – Week 5
BMO Field — Toronto
8:00 pm ET – March 30, 2018

No one is pushing the panic button yet in Toronto, especially with the Concacaf Champions League semifinals against Club América on the horizon, but Toronto FC would like to avoid opening the season in too deep of a hole in the ultra-competitive Eastern Conference. They will also look to avoid becoming the first defending champion to open the season with three straight losses, per Elias Sports Bureau

Meanwhile, Real Salt Lake did well to rebound from an embarrassing loss to LAFC for a hard-working 1-0 victory over the the New York Red Bulls.

Toronto FC

It was a busy bye week for Toronto FC (0-2-0) with eight players called up for international duty, including Jonathan Osorio, Ashtone Morgan, Jay Chapman, Liam Fraser and Tosaint Ricketts, who scored the lone goal goal as Canada defeated New Zealand, 1-0, in Spain on Saturday on John Herdman’s debut as coach. Tosaint rebounded from a thyroid injury to score his 16th international goal, six shy of Dwayne De Rosario’s national team record of 21.

Also during the week away from MLS play, Spanish playmaker Victor Vazquez re-signed with the club to a multi-year extension.

The break allowed a breath, but things will heat up fast for TFC with the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League semifinals against América coming Tuesday night at BMO Field.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: QUESTIONABLE: D – Justin Morrow (calf strain); PROBABLE: D – Chris Mavinga (abdominal discomfort)

Projected Starting XI
(3-5-2, right to left)
GK: Alex Bono — Eriq Zavaleta, Drew Moor, Nick Hagglund — Gregory van der Wiel, Ashtone Morgan, Michael Bradley, Ager Aketxe, Jonathan Osorio — Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco

  • Notes: Toronto are hoping to avoid back-to-back losses at home in MLS play for the first time since Aug. 30-Sept. 6, 2014. They have gone 14W-2L-3D in their last 19 league home games. … Toronto are averaging 3.5 shots on target per game this season, tied for the fifth-worst rate this season. Last year, they averaged 5.0 shots on target per game, tied for the fourth-best rate in MLS.

Real Salt Lake

RSL (1-1-1) head to Toronto coming off a 1-0 home win over the New York Red Bulls in Week 3 with Albert Rusnak scoring the lone goal from the penalty spot four minutes after kickoff. The midfielder then scored his first international goal for Slovakia in a 2-1 win over United Arab Emirates at the 2018 King’s Cup in Thailand.

“They have different formations and different players that like to do different things, but the mentality has to be the same,” Brooks Lennon said of TFC after training Tuesday. “We have to come out with the same intensity as we did against New York and I think if we do that we can get a good result.”

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: D – Tony Beltran (right knee surgery), M – Jordan Allen (knee), D – Taylor Peay (knee); QUESTIONABLE: D – Aaron Herrera (groin), D – Marcelo Silva (hamstring), F – Joao Plata (hamstring)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1 right to left)
GK: Nick Rimando — Brooks Lennon, David Horst, Justen Glad, Demar Phillips — Kyle Beckerman, Damir Kreilach — Jefferson Savarino, Albert Rusnak, Sebastian Saucedo — Alfredo Ortuño

  • Notes: Rusnak have created 13 chances this season, tied for the most in the league. … Since the start of 2016, Real Salt Lake have lost 22 road games, giving up 72 goals in the process. Only two teams have lost more away games in that time.

All-Time Series

  • Overall: Toronto FC 5 wins, 12 goals … Real Salt Lake 8 wins, 20 goals … Ties 3
  • At Toronto: Toronto FC 4 wins, 4 goals … Real Salt Lake 1 wins, 1 goals … Ties 2
  • Last meeting at Toronto: Toronto FC 1, Real Salt Lake 0 (August 3, 2016)


Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistant Referees: Matthew Nelson, Joe Fletscher
4th Official: Nima Saghafi
VAR: Geoff Gamble