Toronto FC loses 2-0 to Chicago Fire

Article content

Colombian teenager Jhon Duran scored twice in the first 16 minutes as the Chicago Fire defeated Toronto FC 2-0 in MLS play Wednesday.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Toronto, whose defence has been suspect all season, could not handle Duran’s pace and power. And it failed to muster much offence.

TFC defender Chris Mavinga was second-best to the Colombian youth international on both of his goals and didn’t last the first half. Fellow centre backs Shane O’Neill and Lukas MacNaughton, who replaced Mavinga, were both yellow-carded in the first half for trying to illegally slow down Duran.

Article content

Duran was 17 when he signed with Chicago in January 2021, becoming the youngest international player signing in MLS history. He spent the 2021 season with Colombia’s Envigado FC before his contract with the Fire officially kicked in.

The loss ended Toronto’s 14-game unbeaten run (11-0-3) against Chicago dating back to September 2015. No MLS team has ever gone 15 straight regular-season meetings against a single opponent without losing.

Advertisement 3

Article content

Both teams came into the game needing a change in fortune.

Chicago (5-10-5) started the day at the bottom of the 14-team Eastern Conference, two points and two places below Toronto (5-11-4). After going 2-0-2 to start the season, the Fire were mired in a 2-10-3 slump going into Wednesday’s match.

The win moved the Fire up the standings, past Toronto.

TFC is now winless in its last four league outings (0-3-1), has just two victories in its last 13 games (2-9-2) and has yet to win on the road this season (0-6-3).

Soldier Field was the site of TFC’s last away win in league play, a 2-1 decision on July 24, 2021. Toronto has gone 0-12-5 away from home since then.

Toronto’s defence looked shaky from the start Wednesday and Chicago went ahead in the fourth minute after Mavinga lost the ball under Duran’s pressing just inside the Chicago half.

Advertisement 4

Article content

The ball went to Chris Mueller whose through ball found Duran behind the Toronto defence and the 18-year-old beat a defenceless Quentin Mavinga with Chicago’s first shot of the evening.

It marked the seventh goal Toronto has given up in the first 15 minutes of a match this season. Only Montreal, with eight, has conceded more in that period.

Duran beat Mavinga again in the 16th minute, outmuscling and racing past him after taking an elegant flick-on by Brian Gutierrez at midfield. Once again Westberg was left unprotected and Duran slipped the ball past the ‘keeper as he came out for his third goal of the season.

Mavinga limped off in the 31st minute, holding the back of his left thigh.

Toronto’s only scoring chance of the half came in the 41st minute when newly acquired midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye’s curling shot from outside the penalty box forced a diving save from 18-year-old goalkeeper Gaga Slonina, who reportedly is being targeted by England’s Chelsea.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Toronto coach Bob Bradley replaced Spanish striker Jesus Jimenez with Ayo Akinola at halftime. Kaye gave way to Italian fullback Domenico Criscito in the 63rd minute.

Duran left to applause from the Chicago fans in the 68th minute. Five minutes later, Slonina made an acrobatic one-handed save to tip away Criscito’s long-range shot.

Toronto came into the game 26th in the 28-team league on defence, conceding 1.89 goals a game on average,

It has not blanked the opposition since a 0-0 draw at Colorado on Sept. 25, 2021 — a run of 28 straight games without a clean sheet, which ties the fourth-longest regular season streak in league history (set by the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2018-19 and the now-defunct Miami Fusion in 1998-99).

Advertisement 6

Article content

Toronto did not have a designated player in its lineup with Spanish playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo traded to Inter Miami last week and Mexican centre back Carlos Salcedo released by his contract Monday by mutual agreement. Italian star Lorenzo Insigne, the team’s other DP, has yet to make his TFC debut due to a calf injury.

The Fire were coming off back-to-back losses to Columbus.

Chicago was missing Argentine midfielder Gaston Gimenez, one of its designated players, and Venezuelan defender Miguel Navarro through suspension. Defender Wyatt Omsberg was out with a foot injury.

Toronto, which was also without injured midfielder Noble Okello, visits CF Montreal on Saturday.

    Advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a comment

SMM Panel PDF Kitap indir