Why Toronto FC fans should pay close attention to Napoli-Genoa clash this weekend
In a match that Toronto FC fans should pay close attention to, Napoli host Genoa at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday morning over the penultimate Serie A weekend of the season.
Lorenzo Insigne, of course, headlines Napoli, who are vying to secure third place in the Serie A table with a victory. The 30-year-old Italian national team star will be playing his last home match for his childhood club and should receive a prodigious sendoff after spending his entire career in his hometown of Naples.
Insigne, who has been the captain of Napoli since 2019, leads the team with 19 goal contributions this season (10 goals and nine assists). He’s expected to arrive in Toronto and begin training with TFC sometime in June following the conclusion of the Serie A season but won’t be eligible to play for his new club until July 2.
“We are all looking forward to having Lorenzo join us this summer,” said Toronto FC Head Coach and Sporting Director Bob Bradley in a press release. “His ability to create chances for himself and his teammates is special. Having watched him for many years, I also know he’s also a player who works for the team. Lorenzo is the kind of player you come to watch, because there’s always a chance he’ll do something unforgettable.”
On the other side of the fixture on Sunday is Genoa’s Domenico Criscito – a player Toronto FC have been linked to since the offseason.
With his contract expiring at the end of the year, reports stated that he was apparently close to joining Toronto as soon as March, but changed his mind in order to help Genoa avoid relegation in Serie A.
Genoa looked all but destined to be relegated just a few weeks back, but they have since won two out of their last three games – including a stunning come-from-behind win over Juventus last weekend via a Criscito injury-time winner from the penalty spot. They are now just two points back of safety with two matches remaining, meaning three points in either of their last two matches may be enough to keep the oldest club in Italy in Serie A next season.
Many have since reported that the agreement between Criscito and Toronto has been derailed, however, multiple sources tell The Parleh that the plan is for the Genoa captain to join the Reds this summer on a free transfer. The 35-year-old defender is said to be signing a two-year contract.
The former Italian international, who has spent time with Juventus and Zenit Saint Petersburg in his 16-year-career, is good friends with Insigne and will be expected to help solidify a Toronto FC backline that has allowed an Eastern Conference-high 22 goals so far this season, as well as ease Insigne’s transition to MLS.
He can operate as either a centre-back or left-back, and is lethal from the penalty spot, scoring seven goals in 19 appearances so far this season.
Furthermore, The Parleh can confirm that teammate Mattia Destro is also very much on Toronto’s radar. The 31-year-old striker’s contract expires at the end of June and has been monitored closely by TFC dating back to last season.
The former AC Milan, AS Roma, and Bologna FC man has scored goals at a blistering pace throughout his career in Serie A, finding the back of the net 90 times in 286 career matches. He has nine goals in 26 appearances this season after scoring 11 times in 29 games in 2021.
Kickoff on Sunday is at 9 am ET.