Toronto FC announced on Sunday that goalkeeper Clint Irwin will miss 4-5 weeks with a hamstring strain.
Irwin was injured in the first half of Friday’s 0-0 draw with Sporting KC, when he came off his line to challenge Soony Saad from a tight angle on net. Irwin slid to block Saad’s cross, and his left foot got caught underneath him, buckling under the pressure and causing the goalkeeper’s body to double over his leg. The 28-year-old went down immediately, and could not continue.
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It was an ugly looking injury, and considering that it appeared there was the possibility of significant knee damage, the news has at least a slight silver lining.
22-year-old Syracuse University product Alex Bono replaced Irwin in the match and will get an extended run in the first team. Bono replaced Irwin during the stretch run of the regular season last year when the starter injured his hamstring, missing 11 games. Bono played very well, keeping four clean sheets as the team won eight of his starts. Toronto conceded more than one goal just twice during Bono’s run of games.
Bono proved himself a more than capable backup during that time, so Toronto FC should be fine, but losing a starting goalkeeper so early in the season can always be a reason for at least some minor concerns. Bono and the Toronto defense will have a tall test next up, with the prolific attacking Atlanta United coming to BMO Field next weekend.