Toronto FC Aim to Douse the Fire


Toronto FC will attempt to bounce back from last week’s demoralising 4-1 defeat in Kansas City, as they return home to face the Chicago Fire. This will be the first time TFC has played at BMO Field in four weeks.

The Reds will be hoping to solidify their playoff position, currently sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference. Despite their poor form this season, the Fire are by no means out of it, with only three points separating them from a playoff spot.


This will be the second of three meetings between the two sides this season. In the first encounter at Toyota Park, Toronto FC held on for a 1-1 draw.

The result was particularly impressive, given that “The Reds” played for an hour with 10 men, after Luke Moore was sent off for elbowing Chris Ritter. Toronto FC even managed to take the lead through Jackson Goncalves, before Harry Shipp equalized halfway through the second half.

Overall, the Fire hold the superior head-to-head record over their opponents, with eight wins, six draws and just three defeats. However, all three of those losses have come at BMO Field, where today’s game takes place.


Toronto FC has been inconsistent of late, with just two wins and one draw in their last six games. Fortunately, they’re facing a Chicago Fire team that has been just as erratic, with only one win and three draws over the same period.

TFC has played 10 regular season games at home so far in this season, winning five, drawing one and losing four. They have scored 15 goals, while conceding 12.

Meanwhile, the Fire have won two, drawn five and lost four on their travels in 2014. They have managed to score 14 goals, but are susceptible at the back, having conceded 20.


Toronto FC have dealt with their fair share of injuries this season. However, the biggest news is that leading goalscorer Jermain Defoe is back, after missing three games with a groin strain.

Coach Ryan Nelsen also confirmed that captain Steven Caldwell and Mark Bloom will return in defence. This is welcome news for a unit looking for some solidity, especially after conceding seven goals from dead-ball situations in 2014, fourth-worst in the league.

Wayne Creavalle, who has started three games since his trade from the Houston Dynamos, remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. Andrew Wiedeman, who has had his most frustrating season to date since coming to Toronto, is also out.


Toronto FC – Gilberto

It would have been just as easy to select Moore here. Basically, whoever plays up front will likely benefit from the return of Defoe, who will command the attention of the opposing defenders.

My hunch is that Nelsen with give the nod to Gilberto, based on his recent form. The Brazilian striker has scored in three straight games, giving him five goals for the season.

Overall, this is the chance Gilberto has been looking for to justify his position as a designated player. Now, it’s up to him to prove he is capable of forming an effective strike partnership with Defoe.

Chicago Fire – Robert Earnshaw 

Oct 26, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto FC forward Robert Earnshaw (10) in action during a game against the Montreal Impact at BMO Field.Toronto FC won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

It seems appropriate that Robert Earnshaw’s first action in a Fire shirt could be against the last team he played for in MLS. The striker was Toronto FC’s leading goalscorer in 2013, with eight goals.

While his fitness is still a concern, Earnshaw is hopeful of being involved, as he told “For me it’s obviously a huge game. I’m very close to Toronto as well, because moving from the other side of the world, I’ve played most of my career in the UK and the support I got there was unbelievable.

“I never got a chance to say a goodbye and thank you so it will be a ‘Welcome, Chicago’ and also ‘Goodbye, Toronto’ at the same time. That’s going to be nice.”


Seven of Toronto FC’s final 12 games this season are at BMO Field, so it’s imperative they take full advantage of this favourable schedule. However, they will have to be weary of a Chicago Fire team which has managed to get points on the road in New York (5-4), D.C. United (2-2) and Kansas City (1-1).

Undoubtedly this will be a tough game for Toronto FC. However, buoyed by a raucous home crowd, combined with the return of Defoe, Caldwell and Bloom, I expect them to sneak a win.

Final score – TFC  2, Fire 1

Tip of the Tower will be at BMO Field tonight for the game. Make sure you follow the live coverage on our Facebook page and via Twitter @TipOfTheTower.