Toronto FC vs. NYCFC
BMO Field, Toronto, Canada
March 7- 5:00 PM ET
TV: TSN 1/4
Streaming: MLS LIVE on ESPN+
Toronto -117 | Draw +265 | NYCFC +300
The last time these two sides met, Toronto FC eliminated Eastern Conference winners NYCFC from the playoffs. In the aftermath of that loss, NYC coach Dome Torrent’s postgame press conference turned into a virtual resignation speech, leading to Ronny Deila’s appointment as coach.
Deila’s men now travel to Toronto for MLS matchday 2.
Revenge on the Table for NYCFC
At NYCFC’s media day Thursday afternoon in Manhattan, midfielder Keaton Parks admitted that revenge is indeed on the table. “Of course we want revenge for the playoffs last year,” Parks said, adding, “it’s definitely in the back of our minds that we want to get revenge for last year.”
Late Disappointment for Toronto
Toronto will be trying to atone for a more recent disappointment when the division rivals meet on Saturday, having blown a two goal lead on opening day. They settled for a 2-2 draw at San Jose.
TFC jumped out to that two goal advantage at Earthquakes Stadium on the strength of a 40th minute goal from a penalty kick from Alejandro Pozuelo, and a rebound effort from substitute Richie Laryea 11 minutes later. TFC will have to shake off the added disappointment of surrendering the lead five minutes into stoppage time on a free kick from an unlikely angle by San Jose newcomer Oswaldo Alanis.
Who Will Match Up With Altidore?
Jozy Altidore won the penalty for TFC and New York will have to deal with the powerful USMNT forward on Saturday minus Maxime Chanot. He is serving a red card suspension following his 3rd minute ejection versus Columbus in NYC’s opening day loss.
Deila will have to choose between James Sands and Sebastian Ibeagha to replace Chanot. Ibeagha is reportedly available after picking up a knock versus Columbus and may be the choice to match up physically with Altidore, although Sands has excelled early as a hybrid center back/midfielder in Deila’s system.
Deila could also opt to play both with Alexander Callens in a three center back set.
CCL On Deck for NYC
Delia will also be cognizant of player workloads with a CONCACAF Champions League match versus Mexican power Tigres coming up on Wednesday night at temporary home Red Bull Arena. It will be a tricky balance for the new NYC coach to achieve, particularly on the back of that disappointing defeat at Columbus.
Injury Woes for TFC
Toronto boss Greg Vanney has had to make do without captain Michael Bradley, who is out with a long term ankle injury, as well as DP signing Pablo Piatti, who has been held out with a hamstring injury. Toronto brought Piatti in from La Liga’s Espanyol and is counting on the attacker to form a dangerous trio with Altidore and Pozuelo. But it looks like Vanney will have to wait just a bit longer.
NYCFC Sloppy in Playoff Loss
Adding to the revenge motive for NYC is the manner in which they conceded both of Toronto’s goals in that 2-1 playoff loss to Toronto last October. Both TFC goals were scored by Pozuelo with each coming after gaffes committed by New York players.
A dreadful back header by Chanot was pounced on by Pozuelo to give Toronto the lead and then NYC fullback Ronald Matarrita inexplicably hacked Lareya down for a penalty kick that Pozuelo converted with a nervy panenka in the 90th minute.