The door to the trainer’s room keeps swinging for Toronto FC.
One week after Lorenzo Insigne – in a 14-minute cameo appearance off the bench – returned to action after missing six games with a groin injury, fellow Italian Federico Bernardeschi is questionable for Saturday’s visit to the Philadelphia Union (2-4-2) with a lower body injury.
Bernardeschi has been an offensive force since making his TFC debut alongside Insigne last July. The 29-year-old winger has been involved in 17 of Toronto’s 32 goals (11 goals and six assists) since joining the club, including 11 of the last 19 (seven goals, four assists).
Bernardeschi’s injury came out of the blue. He played the full 90 minutes in last Saturday’s 2-2 tie with Atlanta United,
Captain/midfielder Michael Bradley (lower body) and centre back Matt Hedges (concussion protocols) are expected to be out for a second week in a row. Fullback Cristian Gutierrez remains sidelined by a non-COVID illness.
Coach Bob Bradley said Michael Bradley, his son, was making progress but was not fast enough for this weekend. Bradley had played every minute this season prior to sitting out last week’s game, which snapped a run of 42 consecutive league starts.
Spanish midfielder Victor Vazquez and Norwegian forward Adama Diomande (both lower body) are listed as questionable. That’s an upgrade for Diomande, who has not played since March 4 when he left at halftime of TFC’s second game of the season – a 1-1 tie in Atlanta.
Diomande and Vazquez both trained two days in a row this week but were kept our of training Thursday.
“Still to be discussed but some possibility for a small number of minutes (Saturday) for those two,” said Bob Bradley.
“With a busy stretch coming up, we’re trying to weigh everything as to whether or not pushing them now for a small number of minutes makes sense, but yeah they both had a couple of days training so that’s very positive.”
Toronto has nine games between now and the end of May.
Forward Deandre Kerr is getting over an illness. On the plus side, Bob Bradley reports Insigine had a good week in training.
“We’re trying to figure out what that means minute-wise (in terms of playing). But definitely more than 15 (minutes).”
Goalkeeper Sean Johnson was slated to return Thursday from international duty with the U.S. after starting in Wednesday’s 1-1 tie with Mexico in Glendale, Ariz.
The 55th-minute goal by Uriel Altuna represented the first goal that Johnson conceded in U.S. colours since 2011, ending his U.S. national team-record shutout streak at 814 minutes.
That streak spanned across parts of 12 matches over the course of 12 years – from eight minutes into his international debut on Jan. 22, 2011, against Chile to Wednesday evening. During that time, Johnson contributed to 10 total team shutouts and collected six of his own for matches in which he played the full 90.
TFC (1-1-6) has not lost since the season opener, when it conceded 90th- and 98th-minute goals in a 3-2 loss at D.C. United. But it has won just one of the seven games since with six draws, including four in its last four outings, meaning it has taken just nine of a possible 21 points over that stretch.