July 3, 2018 / 10:27 PM / 15 days ago

Toronto begins crucial road trip with visit to Minnesota

Toronto FC could not win on their national day, but in a quick turnaround will have a chance to spoil the Fourth of July for Minnesota United when the struggling teams play at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Wednesday.

A 1-0 home loss to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday — Canada Day — left Toronto, the defending MLS Cup champions, eight points behind Chicago for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.

Toronto (4-9-3) has lost two straight and is 1-3-2 in the past six games. After dominating the league last season while setting franchise records for wins and points, it’s been a difficult stretch of late.

“There’s a lot of talk going on and people want to bury us but I don’t think we feel that way in this locker room,” Toronto defender Justin Morrow said. “There’s a stretch of a lot of games coming up, there’s going to be a lot of opportunities for us.”

The match is the first of four straight for Toronto on the road, where it is 1-5-1.

Minnesota (5-10-1) can relate to Toronto’s troubles. The Loons have lost three straight and sit seven points back of Vancouver for a postseason spot in the Western Conference.

If there is an advantage versus Toronto it’s that Minnesota will have two extra days of rest following a 1-0 defeat to visiting FC Dallas on Friday.

Minnesota’s 19 goals are the second-fewest in MLS to Seattle’s 13, and the Loons have been shut out in two of their eight home games.

Coach Adrian Heath said it’s best not to keep pointing out those offensive woes to his team.

“The last thing you need to do is keep highlighting it to the players because then it becomes a mental issue,” Heath said.

—Field Level Media

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