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FC Cincinnati vs Toronto FC Predictions as Laryea Returns

MLS: Toronto FC at FC Cincinnati With Richie Laryea

PREVIEW – FC Cincinnati vs Toronto FC will take place on Sunday at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Both teams had very different 2023 seasons as Cincinnati won the Supporters’ Shield for the very first time while Toronto FC finished last in MLS.

FC Cincinnati vs Toronto FC Predictions on Sunday

FC Cincinnati (3-0-2)

FC Cincinnati have played three games this year, including two pre-season games. Of those pre-season games, they won 5-2 against the New England Revolution, but lost the first one to Austin FC by a scoreline of 2-1. Their most recent win was in the Concacaf Champions Cup, when they defeated Jamaican club, Cavalier F.C., on the road by a scoreline of 2-0 in the first leg. Cincinnati head coach, Pat Noonan, was happy with the result, but was not happy with the amount of scoring chances that were squandered (source: Carter Chapley of FC Cincinnati):

“Just didn’t take our opportunities,” Noonan said. “There were plenty of goals there I think for us.”

However, Noonan was happy with the result (source: Chapley of FC Cincinnati):

“I think the guys responded well. It’s certainly good to get a win.”

Cincinnati scored late in both the first and second half, with Sérgio Santos and Malik Pinto scoring the goals. It was also Pinto’s first-ever goal for FC Cincinnati.

Expect Cincinnati to also get a lot scoring opportunities on Sunday as they face a team that struggled in MLS last year and also struggled in pre-season. This is a game Cincinnati will look as a very winnable one as they look forward to their MLS home opener.

Toronto FC (0-1-4)

TFC’s pre-season form is not great. They have lost four of their five games as they head into MLS season action. What seems to be a theme with TFC is the inability to get clean sheets, which is reminiscent to last year.

Still, Herdman feels optimistic about the changes and culture he is bringing into this club. This is what he said on players that he noticed has improved since taking over (source: Tom Nightingale of Waking The Red):

“The starting point is to improve every player in your care, add the extra 10 or 20 percent to their performance. We’ve seen that already. Shane O’Neill was a starting point: watching his growth over the last four months as he’s entered the leadership group and then that transfer onto the pitch, seeing him keep a clean sheet against Columbus, seeing him manage Denis Bouanga in our game against Columbus.”

READ MORE: John Herdman: How He Took the CanMNT to the FIFA World Cup

It is important that Herdman changed the culture of the CanMNT and the CanWNT. The CanMNT is well documented, but what he did with the CanWNT might have been even more impressive. He took a team from their worst-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance in 2011 to Olympic bronze in less than 12 months.


READ MORE: Analysis: FC Cincinnati Wins Supporters’ Shield at BMO Field

Since FC Cincinnati came into the league, they initially struggled against TFC. Cincinnati lost their first three games against Toronto from 2019-20. However, since then FC Cincinnati has defeated the Reds five times in six games from 2021-23. The last time TFC won a game was back on September 29, 2021. It would also be six losses in seven games for Toronto if one includes the pre-season played earlier this year between the two clubs.

The game to highlight was FC Cincinnati winning the Supporters’ Shield at BMO Field on September 30, 2023. This was a big moment for the Ohio club, who won their first major trophy since joining MLS in 2015.

Richie Laryea Returns to Toronto FC

While it is unclear whether Richie Laryea will play on Sunday, it is great to get a valuable TFC player back into the squad. Laryea played a big role in TFC’s 2019 MLS Cup playoff run, which included earning his team a late penalty against the heavily favoured New York City FC. His speed is invaluable and Toronto soccer fans should be happy to have him back. This is what TFC head coach John Herdman said about Laryea coming back (source: Canadian Press of Sportsnet)

“Absolutely amazing,” coach John Herdman said of Laryea’s return. “Its been in the works for a while, so to finally get it over the line before the Cinci game (Canada opens the regular season Sunday at FC Cincinnati) was a big one. We’d hoped to have got him in for a couple of pre-season matches but I’m just happy he’s here. And you can feel the uplift in the dressing room and even with the fans. It’s exciting.”

Other transactions made on Friday and Saturday included TFC getting French defender, Nicksoen Gomis and homegrown defender, Adam Pearlman. Also on Friday, unfortunately, was Adama Diomande being waved by the club.

Players to Watch for Both Teams

READ MORE: Come on You Reds: The Birth of Toronto FC and BMO Field

For FC Cincinnati, the players that jump out are Luciano Acosta and Matt Miazga. They both made the 2023 MLS Best 11 and will be one to watch out for in Sunday’s game. In particular, Acosta won the 2023 Landon Donovan MVP.

When Acosta joined the team in 2021 he was put in important trust by the organization:

“He told me I had to carry the team, I had to be a leader, I had to be the captain,” Acosta told about an early conversation with then-head coach Jaap Stam. “He gave me the armband.”

Acosta had 17 goals and 13 assists, which led the league in goal contributions with 31. As for TFC, Jonathan Osorio will be the centre of attention as he will be captain of the squad for the very first time along with other players like Richie Laryea, Lorenzo Insigne, and Federico Bernardeschi.

How To Watch FC Cincinnati’s Home Opener and Predictions

Prediction: FC Cincinnati 3 Toronto FC 1

While TFC has a chance to make the MLS Cup Playoffs, this game will be hard to win. Facing the defending Supporters’ Shield champions is always a tough challenge and with TFC playing on the road, Cincinnati will be seen as heavy favourites. Expect Toronto to possibly score a goal, but it may not be enough on Sunday.

FC Cincinnati’s home opener can be watched at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. The game will be shown live on Apple TV on Sunday at 2:00 PM ET.


Photo Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports, of a Richie Laryea Headshot and a Arquimides Ordonez Headshot, on June 21, 2023.


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