Suffering consecutive losses after a three-game win streak definitely ratchets up the pressure ahead of the weekend in a rivalry game that Insigne says “is a very different match” than the ones he played in during more than a decade with Napoli. There, he said, you have a week full of everyone talking about the game, thinking about who will line up where and general build-up. Still, he’s not diminishing what it would mean for TFC to break a five-match losing streak in the Canadian Classique.

“It’s a very important game for the fans, for the city, for us as players,” Insigne said. “We want to give everything on the field and play really well to be able to win the game because it’s important. A Clásico is everything.”

Despite missing Insigne for six contests, Toronto sit sixth in the Eastern Conference through 13 matches with a 6W-6L-1D record (19 points). At this point last season, the Reds had just two wins compared to the six they have in 2024. The club weathered things with Insigne out of the lineup but will be thrilled to have the Designated Player back to something approaching full health after his red-hot start to the season.

In addition to the goal celebration in Charlotte, Herdman and Insigne also spoke about forming a tight bond in preseason – at one point the manager noted he was wearing cologne borrowed from his star. With Herdman putting his mark on TFC and Insigne enjoying working with the manager, is Insigne finding that joy he cherishes on the soccer field?

“Yes, yes. I’m really happy here,” Insigne answers before the question is even completed. “The new coach and the staff here are people who are prepared, who want to play good soccer. The team is good, and I’m really happy to be here. Right now, we’ve just got to keep going, win a lot of games to be able to put together a good season.”

TFC hope that starts against their biggest rival, snapping an unwanted streak and starting a new one like the one it started the year with. That should help keep Insigne happy and hungry for more in 2024.


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