Toronto FC looks to continue momentum as they face NYCFC at Citi Field

Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley at Citi Field
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PREVIEW – This is the second meeting between these “Financial Centre” rivals. The first meeting this year went in favour of “The Reds” as TFC defeated NYCFC at BMO Field. However, this time, NYCFC will play at home in Citi Field.

Toronto FC looks to continue the momentum at Citi Field

New York City FC

After defeating CF Montréal on March 12, the defending MLS Cup champions had trouble getting favourable results. They almost lost to Comunicaciones F.C. but made it to the semi-final round of the Concacaf Champions via the away goal rule. They would then go winless in three-straight games of all competitions. The first two were dropping results against the Philadelphia Union and Toronto FC. Then they lost the first leg of the Concacaf Champions League semifinals against the Seattle Sounders FC. They were then eliminated by Seattle in the second leg, where both teams drew 1-1 each at Yankee Stadium.

However, that all changed when NYCFC finally woke up and won 6-0 against Real Salt Lake at home. It was NYCFC’s first win in all competitions since March 12 against Montreal. NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila saw some great trends regarding the NYCFC team in the last two games. This is what he said according to NYCFC:

“We can see also in the game against Seattle that we can change to be more and more offensive during games. We can change formations we can really go hard if we want to, but we have to find the right way to go into every game and find balance. I think we’re more hard to read now.”

Surprisingly, in that same article, Deila said that the second leg, which ended in a 1-1 draw was a better game by New York City than the 6-0 win. This shows that the changing formations and becoming more offensive will be a problem for TFC to deal with.

Looking specifically at MLS play, Valentin Castellanos led the team with four goals while Thiago Eduardo Andrade scored three goals for the team. This is while Santiago Rodríguez currently leads the team with three assists while Talles Magno currently has two assists.

Toronto FC

Toronto FC is riding on a high as they are now unbeaten in four games, with three of those being wins. It is a sharp contrast to the start of the season, where they only got one point in their first five games. Also, Carlos Salcedo will be back after he served his one-game suspension for a red card that he committed against Real Salt Lake.

Furthermore, it is important to point out that Toronto has the 10th youngest MLS team in the league according to Christopher Fung of Waking the Red. So, there will be mistakes made within this team as it matures within the next few years. Saying that TFC got an impressive win against the Philadelphia Union at BMO Field. Yes, TFC extended their winning streak to three games at BMO Field and their unbeaten run to four games. What was more impressive though was ending the Union’s six-game unbeaten run. This is what the TFC head coach said after the game according to Toronto FC.

“Proud of the group,” said Bob Bradley post-match. “You really need to compete as a team against Philadelphia. They’re a team whose style is football forward, fight for loose balls, they run very hard, and I said we have to be up to all of those kinds of battles. We really raised the level in terms of just the way we went after the game.”

Jesús Jiménez leads the team with four goals while Alejandro Pozuelo is second with two goals (Jonathan Osorio also has two goals, but he is injured). Osorio and Luca Petrasso both lead the team with three assists each. After that, Alejandro Pozuelo and Jacob Shaffelburg have two assists each.

Injuries and Absences for both Teams

For Toronto FC, the two known injuries right now are Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty and Jonathan Osorio. According to Anthony Khoury of Waking the Red, Marshall-Rutty is out indefinitely as he underwent a procedure. This might be the injury he got from the 2-1 loss against Columbus Crew SC. It looked like the injury was minor when he played in TFC’s first MLS win this year against DC United, but reality kicked in a few weeks later, unfortunately.

This is positive news for Jonathan Osorio, especially with how the injury happened. It looks certain that Osorio will not start against NYCFC at Citi Field. However, this does not rule out him possibly coming from the bench to play from his thigh injury. It is best, however, to act with caution. If Osorio is not physically able to play against NYCFC, why risk it now?

While, for New York City FC, Anton Tinnerholm has been out with a ruptured Achilles tendon since October 5, 2021, according to transfermarkt. It does not seem that he is close to returning right now for his club.

Game predictions and how to watch the game at Citi Field

Prediction: NYCFC 1 Toronto FC 1

It would not be surprising if NYCFC win this game. They, after all, won their last game 6-0 over Real Salt Lake. However, there is something about TFC that defied expectations. Who would have expected them to get a win against the top team of the Eastern Conference last weekend? It is also important to note that before that game against Real Salt Lake, they did not win a game since March 12, when they defeated Montreal at Citi Field. Lastly, the last time Toronto faced NYC at Citi Field, was in the 2019 MLS Cup playoffs, which Toronto won.

This included a previous 2-1 defeat at the hands of TFC at BMO Field on April 2. The game between the “Financial Centre Derby” teams will take place on Sunday, April. 24 at BMO Field. The game will be televised nationally in Canada on TSN and the game will also be shown on the YES Network.

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