Toronto FC looks to win home opener against New York City FC

Toronto FC

Preveiw — A couple months ago, Toronto FC shocked New York City FC after defeating them 2-1 at Citi Field in the MLS Eastern Conference semifinals. Toronto won the season series against New York City FC. In the season series, Toronto had one win and one tie when they faced NYCFC last year.

Now, a couple months later, they’re suiting up again for regular-season action.

Game Preview

New York City FC’s focus will be on Toronto FC this weekend. They lost their first MLS game in Columbus last Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium. In the contest, Maxime Chanot got a red card in the third minute for New York City FC. According to Major League Soccer, this is the fastest red card in MLS history. Chanot has been an integral part of NYCFC, being with the team since 2016.

Alex Callens, a defender for New York City FC, talked about that painful playoff defeat suffered by the hands of Toronto FC.

“It hurt us, but it’s time to lift our heads from that, to look forward,” Callens said through a translator. “I don’t know what’s going to happen this year. But we’re gonna go there looking at that game as a rivalry game, as a revenge game.”

Expect the New York City FC team to be up for this game. They will want to get their payback, which includes ruining Toronto’s home opener.

The recent form of NYCFC and Toronto FC

New York City FC also started Concacaf Champions League play advancing to the quarterfinals. They defeated A.D. San Carlos, a Costa Rican side, 6-3 on aggregate. After securing a 5-3 victory on the road, New York then went to Red Bull Arena and took care of business. They will now face Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals.

Toronto FC so far has played only one competitive game in San Jose, finishing with a 2-2 draw. In that game, Toronto FC had a two-goal lead, but let it slip away with an Oswaldo Alanis late-goal to end the game. Against NYCFC will be Toronto FC’s first home game at BMO Field this season.

According to Waking the Red, Toronto FC has a 5-4-5 record in competitive play. This includes Toronto FC’s two-leg wins against New York City FC in 2016 and their 2-1 win at Citi Field last year.

Four Keys to the Game

  • Do not concede: This is easier said than done. NYCFC had the second-most goals in MLS last year. One player Toronto FC should be aware of is Brazilian striker Héber Araujo dos Santos. He scored 15 goals for NYCFC last year and will be a big challenge.
  • Do not let NYCFC back into the game: Toronto FC played good defense against the Earthquakes last week. The only fault was letting the Quakes score two minutes after Toronto FC scored their second goal. If Toronto has a stranglehold of this game, they should try to hold the lead. NYCFC is a more potent team than San Jose and will likely be more clinical near the net.
  • Jozy Altidore-Alejandro Pozuelo partnership: People will be talking in detail about the Altidore-Pozuelo partnership throughout the whole season. They were glimpses of what it could be last year. However, Altidore was injured for most of the year in 2019. This year with Altidore and Pozuelo healthy, maybe they can work some magic against NYCFC.

It’s important to note that New York City FC has a difficult two-leg series against Tigres UANL coming up. This includes their first leg where New York City FC will be at Red Bull Arena in New York City on March 11 and will then host FC Dallas for their MLS home opener on March 14 at Yankee Stadium.

Finally, they will have to travel to San Nicolás de los Garza, a city in the Monterrey metropolitan area on March 17 at University Stadium. This could change NYCFC’s starting line-up as they have four matches until March 17.

Game Overview

Toronto FC, even with injuries, can win this game at BMO Field. Toronto will probably concede a goal, but will win the game. The predicted scoreline is 2-1 in favor of Toronto. The partnership of Pozuelo and Altidore should be the game factor in this game.

Toronto FC and Canadian soccer fans will be able to watch this game on TV as it is on TSN 1 and 4. The game will also be streamed in the US with MLS Live on ESPN+. The game will take place on Saturday, Mar. 7 at BMO Field.

This is an important two-game home stand for Toronto FC as they also face expansion-side Nashville SC on March 14. They will then head down to Ohio to face FC Cincinnati on March 21 and then face Trillium Cup rivals Columbus Crew SC on April 4.


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