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Three Keys: CJ Sapong Had a Memorable Toronto FC Debut

MLS: New York City FC at Toronto FC as CJ Sapong and Lorenzo Insigne Celebrates Win

CJ Sapong of Toronto FC played a big role in Toronto FC’s win over New York City FC. The team, after losing their game against the Philadelphia Union last week, was able to rebound.

Three Keys: CJ Sapong Played a Huge Role in Toronto FC Win

CJ Sapong Played Exceptionally Well

Sapong debuted for Toronto FC against New York City. He was also their best player, putting himself in good positions to score throughout the game in both the first and the second half.

  • Lorenzo Insigne found Sapong, whose shot was wide.
  • Sapong got himself into position to receive a cross that went wide of the net.

Sapong’s patience finally paid off as Richie Laryea made a fantastic run as he passed by some NYCFC players before finding Sapong in the box, who shot the ball into the back of the net.

Putting himself in great positions to score was not the only reason why TFC won. He also tried to create scoring chances for his teammates and made a vital interception that led to a Toronto FC scoring chance. He was all over the park as New York City FC did not have an answer for him. This is what the TFC head coach, Bob Bradley, said about the game and Sapong’s ability to get into the box:

“CJ gives us something a little bit different,” said Toronto coach Bradley. “He’s unselfish with his running in the box,” he added. “Tonight, he got the goal but when you have a striker who runs hard in the box, it oftentimes does a lot to create chances for others. He brings a lot of good qualities.”

Toronto FC’s Defence Was Solid

Toronto FC’s defence was not busy for most of the game but had to dig deep late in the game. They also looked organized defensively as New York City FC was called for offside a few times in dangerous areas of the park. In this game, there were many instances where TFC was able to clear their lines and make it difficult for NYCFC to penetrate much offence.

  • NYCFC’s Keaton Parks was trying to find somebody to pass the ball to but was unable to find anybody.
  • Toronto FC was alert to the danger and made some key blocked shots to prevent NYCFC from progressing into the box.

It was not perfect, but Toronto FC got the job done. Players like Sigurd Rosted really stepped up when TFC needed it. Bob Bradley was also happy with the defence (source: James Grossi of Toronto FC):

“We didn’t give much away, we were solid, our ideas in terms of how to defend, when to step up, when to be more compact, those things were good,” said Bradley post-match.

That is true, Toronto made some great defensive plays and even when New York City threatened, TFC found a way to limit their scoring opportunities, an all-around fantastic effort.

New York City FC Had Chances to Tie the Game

NYCFC did not have too many, but they did have some chances. The most obvious one was in the 40-minute when Toronto FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson was forced to make a big save. However, it is also known that New York City FC only had one shot on goal, which was not good enough on the road.

  • Maxime Chanot’s header was off-target in the 71-minute from a Richard Ledezma cross.
  • In a rare play where NYCFC beat TFC’s defence, Kevin O’Toole found Andres Jasson not covered, but his header was off-target.

New York City was pressing late in the game, as they earned a lot of corners, but was unable to do anything with their set-pieces and was caught offside a few times at BMO Field today.

Game Overview: C.J. Sapong the Star of the Show

This was one of TFC’s best games this year. Also, they were able to close out the game for a win. For many games this year, Toronto was unable to do that with the notable exception of the 2-0 win over Inter Miami CF at home.

The story of today’s game was Sapong. He is now playing for his sixth team in MLS, he has now scored in his debut game for at least three MLS teams. He got himself in good positions to score and even helped create scoring chances in the game when he could. While, for NYCFC, this means that their four-game unbeaten run has come to a close. TFC’s defence was solid at the back and made sure that New York City had limited chances to score. Furthermore, the way Toronto started the game really set the tempo, and it also played a major factor in New York City losing the game.

Games Coming Up For Both Teams

TFC will now host the New England Revolution on May 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET and then will host CF Montreal on May 9 at 7:00 p.m. ET for an important Canadian Championship semi-final game. They will then travel to Montreal on May 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET for a Canadian Classique Derby, this time in MLS play.

As for NYCFC, they will continue playing on the road. This includes MLS games on May 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Bank of America Stadium against Charlotte FC and on May 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena, against their Hudson Bay Rivals, the New York Red Bulls. In between those two games, they have an important U.S. Open Cup game against FC Cincinnati at 7:00 p.m. ET at TQL Stadium.

Both of TFC’s MLS games will be shown live on Apple TV. This is while the Canadian Championship game between Toronto and Montreal will be shown live on OneSoccer and Telus. Similarly, both NYCFC MLS games will be shown on Apple TV as well.


Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports on April 29, 2023, of the Toronto FC Headshot.


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