Toronto FC’s Justin Morrow is confident interim coach Javier Perez will keep up the resurgence he has garnered so far ahead of this weekend’s clash with Chicago Fire.
Perez took over from Chris Armas earlier in July, and is unbeaten in his three games in charge of Toronto so far.
Indeed, his points tally of five already matches what Armas had managed across the first 11 games of the season.
“I think Javi’s done a good job of preparing the team for each game and specifically for what each opponent is going to bring to the table,” said defender Morrow after Wednesday’s draw with the New York Red Bulls.
“A couple more plays on each end and you’re going to see some of these ties turn in into wins but all-around it’s been on the up and up.”
Toronto would go above the Fire should they win on Saturday. Chicago endured a 5-1 trashing at the hands of Nashville SC before the international break, and then threw away a lead to draw 2-2 with D.C. United last time out.
However, Fire owner Joe Mansueto has no plans to part ways with sporting director Georg Heitz or coach Raphael Wicky.
“I don’t have plans to make any changes with Georg and Rapha,” Mansueto told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“I like working with both of them and have confidence in them. They are very knowledgeable about soccer, passionate, fully committed and engaged. I don’t see anything wrong that they are doing.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chicago Fire – Alvaro Medran
Playmaker Alvaro Medran created a joint game-high four chances in Chicago’s draw against D.C. United. Wicky seems to have got the best out of the Spaniard as of late, but that needs to translate into results.
Toronto FC – Ralph Priso
Ralph Priso is just 18, and netted his first MLS goal in the 1-1 draw with the Red Bulls. He has made seven appearances this season, starting on four occasions.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Toronto FC is unbeaten in 11 straight matches against Chicago (W8 D3) dating back to a3-2 Fire win in April 2015. Chicago had gone unbeaten in the previous 12 meetings (W6 D6) from September 2010 through the April 2015 match.
– Chicago lost a two goal in the final eight minutes in its 2-2 draw with D.C. United on Wednesday. It was the first time the Fire had failed to win when leading by at least two goals in the 75th minute or later since April 2019 against Sporting Kansas City. They had won 58 straight matches when leading by at least two goals in the 75th minute or later.
– Toronto FC is unbeaten in three straight matches since making a coaching change (W1 D2). The Reds had avoided defeat just three times in their first 11 matches this season (W2 D1 L8).
– Seven different players have scored Chicago’s last seven goals (including one own goal). Ignacio Aliseda (three goals) is the only player with more than one of Chicago’s last 10 goals.
– There have been 18 goals scored in Toronto FC’s last three away matches (six for, 12 against), including at least five goals in each of the three matches.