Toronto FC and New York City FC will renew their rivalry on Wednesday. They have played each other two times this year. The last time these two teams met each other was when NYCFC eliminated Toronto from the MLS is Back Tournament competition.
More than half of the MLS season has been completed. With a possible six-point swing between Toronto FC and New York City FC, the stakes are going to be high.
Toronto FC vs. New York City FC Preview
New York City FC
NYCFC currently sits fifth in the Eastern Conference. They are one point ahead of the Montreal Impact and five points behind both Toronto FC and Orlando City SC. A win against Toronto would put them only two points behind Toronto for fourth in the Eastern Conference. They have scored 10 goals and allowed only nine. In the last six games, they have allowed only two goals in total.
They have allowed the fewest goals of all MLS teams. However, scoring goals has been a problem for NYCFC. They have only scored 10 goals so far in the MLS season. Their leading scorer Alexander Ring only has three goals. This while their assist leaders are Alexandru Mitriță and Héber Araújo dos Santos with two assists each.
However, the team is in good form after losing the first two games of the MLS season to Columbus Crew SC and Toronto FC.
This is what NYCFC manager Ronny Deila said about their last game, which was a 0-0 draw on September 19 with the New England Revolution. He compared it to the 2-0 win they had against the Revolution on Sept. 2.
“We were more dominant… on the 2nd of September,” NYCFC manager Ronny Deila told the press following the Revolution game. “But I’m proud of the boys. I think they worked really hard again today — a good attitude. There were a lot of changes in the [lineup]. I think the players that get their first MLS starts did a good job. And we get a result with us in a difficult place, so I’m very happy with one point.”
NYCFC central defender Maxime Chanot deserves credit for his performance against the Revolution in Sept. 19. As a result, he made the MLS team of the week.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 21, 2020
NYCFC has only lost one game in the MLS season since losing their first two games in the season. They are picking up steam and are trying to inch closer to the top four teams in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto FC is tied for third in the MLS Eastern Conference. However, since Orlando City SC has a better goal differential, Toronto is currently fourth in the Eastern Conference. Their inability to close games is a big reason why they are not closer to the top of the Eastern Conference. Six of the 14 goals they have given up this season were within the last 15 minutes of an MLS game. Greg Vanney, manager of Toronto FC, was critical on their last game against D.C. United.
“We can’t give away silly goals as we did at the beginning and we have to do better to clear balls when we’re under a little bit of pressure at the end of games,” he added.
Postmatch Sound | Vanney, Akinola
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) September 20, 2020
Toronto has a +6-goal differential. They have scored 20 goals and have given up 14 goals. Toronto has a lot of very gifted offensive players. Ayo Akinola leads TFC in goals with six. Alejandro Pozuelo, who is ranked second for Toronto with four goals, leads MLS with eight assists.
They have a lot of great offensive players like Pozuelo, Richie Laryea, Pablo Piatti, Jozy Altidore and Akinola. However, it is their defense, which needs help especially in the later parts of the game. Although they have shown an ability to close games out in MLS Phase One.
Toronto FC will be missing up to four players for Wednesday’s game. Michael Bradley has a medial collateral ligament injury since Sept. 2. Furthermore, Liam Fraser is injured with thigh problems and Auro Jr. has an ankle injury, both have been injured since Sept. 14. Lastly, Ifunanyachi Achara is out for the rest of the season as he got a torn knee ligament since July 2. However, there is possibly a greater problem for Toronto.
Greg Vanney confirms Jozy Altidore was removed at half-time due to an issue with his heel #tfclive
— Kristian Jack (@KristianJack) September 20, 2020
Jozy Altidore is still slated to play on Wednesday. However, he still has ongoing injury issues. Furthermore, Toronto has three games in eight days, with the NYCFC game being the second of three games. This means that Altidore may not have much playing time because of injury concerns.
New York City FC also had their fair share of injuries. Gedion Zelalem has been out since July 21 with a knee injury. More recently, Maxi Moralez was injured since Sept. 14 also because of a knee injury and Ronald Matarrita has been injured since Sept. 8. It is unknown what Matarrita’s injury is.
Toronto FC vs. New York City FC Preview Overview
These two teams have quite a history between each other. Toronto eliminated NYCFC in the 2016 and 2019 MLS Cup playoffs despite being the lower seed. However, NYCFC eliminated Toronto from the MLS is Back Tournament in July.
It is important to note, however, that the knockout stage of the MLS is Back Tournament does not count towards the MLS regular season. The only MLS game this season that counts between the two teams is Toronto FC beating New York City FC in the home opener at BMO Field.
This match can lead to a six-point swing if a team wins on Wednesday. If NYCFC wins they are only two points behind Toronto. However, if Toronto FC wins, New York City FC would be eight points behind.
There is a lot to play for in this intense rivalry game. The game is on Wednesday at 7:00 PM ET at Red Bull Arena. In Canada, the game will be televised on TSN 1 and TSN 4. The game will also be on television for New York City FC fans on YES. Lastly, the game will be streamed at MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in the United States.
Not much separates the top of the West.
👀 the standings heading into Week 13. pic.twitter.com/89afxzkS9f
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 21, 2020