TFC were minutes away from collecting their first road victory of the MLS campaign last weekend only to draw Minnesota United 1-1, while the Boys in Gold extended their unbeaten run to eight matches with a 2-1 win over Dallas.
Given everything that has transpired in Toronto over the past few weeks, earning at least a point in three successive games must feel encouraging for a club that invested a lot into this season but have yet to see much of a payoff.
While the big names on the team have stepped up in recent matches, those players can only do so much, and at the moment, a lack of depth down the roster seems to be holding them back.
Their draw against Minnesota was the fifth time in 2023 that Bob Bradley's side had dropped points when leading in the second half, with the Reds having now lost 11 from winning positions on the season.
Although they have left points on the table, Toronto have at least managed to come away with something from each match in which they scored first this year, but that killer instinct to put a match out of reach still seems to be missing.
They have not shown a ton in the attacking third in recent matches, but they have at least been sharper on the back end themselves, conceding a goal or fewer in their last five MLS fixtures.
Since entering the league in 2020, Nashville have been built to defend and have balanced that out with a superstar striker who has carried the team in the attack.
That formula has worked in the past for Gary Smith, and it is doing the job again this year, with the Boys in Gold currently on a four-game winning streak in league play, tied for the longest in franchise history.
While their defence remains the backbone of this squad, this group have begun to find the back of the net with more regularity of late, scoring in nine straight league games, including five away from home.
Lately, Nashville have been picking up points the hard way, with two of their last three victories coming after conceding the opening goal.
Coming into this encounter, the Boys in Gold are unbeaten in their last three MLS away fixtures but have never claimed three points at BMO Field in the regular season, narrowly falling 2-1 in their previous visit in 2021.
On the injury front for Toronto, it is the same old story as Victor Vazquez, Jonathan Osorio, Shane O'Neill, Adama Diomande, Alonso Coello Camarero and Michael Bradley are dealing with lower body issues, while Sean Johnson was called up to the United States national team for their upcoming CONCACAF Nations League semi-final clash with Mexico.
The last time these teams squared off in Toronto current Nashville striker Jacob Shaffelburg had the opener for the Reds before CJ Sapong, who is now a member of TFC, equalised with Omar Gonzalez putting home the winner for Toronto in a 2-1 triumph.
Nick DePuy remains sidelined for Nashville because of a lower-body injury, while Walker Zimmerman received a call-up for the US national team, while Anibal Godoy will be representing Panama as those two countries face Mexico and Canada, respectively, in the semi-finals of the CONCACAF Nations League.
Hany Mukhtar had the winner for Nashville on Saturday and has now contributed to 87 of the 155 goals scored by this club, an own-goal from Nolan Norris put them in front after nine minutes, Jack Maher led the team with 89 total passes, Sean Davis had three clearances and Joe Willis made three stops to preserve the victory as he leads the league in save percentage for a minimum three matches played (82.5%).
Josh Bauer made just his second league appearance for the Boys in Gold but was pivotal in the victory, making a goal-saving clearance in stoppage time, while Teal Bunbury picked up his 353rd career MLS cap in the regular season.
Toronto possible starting lineup:
Johnson; Laryea, Hedges, Mabika, Franklin; Thompson, Kaye, Servania; Bernardeschi, Sapong, Insigne
Nashville SC possible starting lineup:
Willis; Moore, Zimmerman, Maher, Lovitz; Muyl, Davis, Shaffelburg; Mukhtar; Bunbury, Picault
We say: Toronto 1-1 Nashville SC
All of the previous matches between these two have been decided by a goal or fewer, and we anticipate another tight one on Saturday between two clubs who have found a way to rack up some points in recent weeks.
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