Toronto FC vs New York City FC: Preview and Prediction

Toronto FC will aim to close the gap to Inter Miami at the top of the Eastern Conference when they face New York City.

MLS action this Friday takes us to the BMO Field as Toronto FC host New York City FC in a clash that could impact both sides’s playoff ambitions.

Toronto enter the match brimming with confidence following a resurgence under the guidance of coach John Herdman. Despite a shaky start to April, the Reds have bounced back emphatically, securing five consecutive victories across all competitions. Their recent form signals a return to their winning ways, with three successive wins in MLS propelling them to third place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Key to Toronto’s resurgence has been their defensive solidity, with improved performances at the back resulting in fewer goals conceded in recent outings. The Reds have also thrived on home turf, boasting an unbeaten record in their last three league fixtures against New York City FC at BMO Field.

On the opposing end, New York City aims to bounce back from a disappointing defeat to the Colorado Rapids, which halted their five-match MLS unbeaten streak. Despite showing promise during their recent run, the Pigeons face a daunting challenge as they embark on a series of away fixtures, where they have struggled to find success.

Coach Nick Cushing emphasises the importance of collective effort and hard work, traits that have been evident in New York City’s recent performances. However, their away form remains a concern, with just one victory in their last 20 regular season away fixtures.

As both teams gear up for a crucial clash, Toronto will look to maintain their momentum and secure another vital victory at home. Meanwhile, New York City seek to rediscover their winning touch on the road. The Hard Tackle delves into the potential elevens and tactics for this highly-anticipated clash.

Team News & Tactics

Toronto FC

Toronto FC face significant roster challenges ahead of their clash with New York City FC, with several key players sidelined due to various injuries.

The absence of Lorenzo Insigne, still recovering from a hamstring strain, deals a blow to their attacking prowess. Additionally, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty remains sidelined with a similar injury, further depleting their offensive options. Richie Laryea’s absence due to hamstring surgery compounds Toronto’s woes, with the player set to miss several weeks of action.

Further setbacks include Jordan Perruzza’s sidelined status with a sore ankle, Shane O’Neill’s absence due to a quad issue, and Brandon Servania’s continued recovery from an ACL rupture, leaving Toronto with limited defensive options.

Toronto FC also bid farewell to Ayo Akinola, opting to part ways with the player who has struggled with injuries in recent seasons. The 3-4-2-1 formation appears to be the way forward for the home side. Sean Johnson should act as the last defensive line with the trio of Kevin Long, Nicksoen Gomis and Sigurd Rosted providing him with a layer of protection.

Deiby Flores and Alonso Coello should start in central midfield, with Tyrese Spicer and Kobe Franklin providing the width. Jonathan Osorio and Federico Bernardeschi should act as the dual number tens, with Prince Owusu leading the line.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Johnson; Long, Gomis, Rosted; Franklin, Flores, Coello, Spicer; Osorio, Bernardeschi; Owusu

Toronto FC vs New York City FC: Preview and Prediction.

New York City FC

New York City face their own roster challenges as they prepare for the upcoming clash with Toronto. Rio Hope-Gund’s absence last weekend due to a leg injury deals a blow to their defensive options, while Maxi Moralez continues his recovery from a ruptured ACL sustained last year, keeping him out of action.

Talles Magno’s absence from the starting lineup due to a knee injury further depletes New York City’s attacking options, with the player yet to make an appearance this season. However, Thiago Martins’s full 90-minute performance despite a previous knock should offer some comfort.

More so, Tayvon Gray’s return to action last week marks a positive development for the visitors, with the player making his first appearance since their draw with Atlanta United. Similarly, Malachi Jones’s consecutive substitute appearances provides them with an impactful option off the bench.

The visitors will be expected to line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Matt Freese in goal behind the back four of Tayvon Gray, Thiago Martins, Birk Risa, and Kevin O’Toole.

Keaton Parks and James Sands should form the double pivot, adding a protective barrier and giving the trio of Hannes Wolf, Santiago Rodriguez, and Julián Fernández the freedom to push forward. Monsef Bakrar should lead the line upfront for New York City.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Freese; Gray, Martins, Risa, O’Toole; Parks, Sands; Wolf, Rodriguez, Fernandez; Bakrar

Toronto FC vs New York City FC: Preview and Prediction.

Ways to Watch

Key Stats

  • A win on the day will give Toronto six consecutive victories in all competitions.
  • Toronto have secured maximum points in four league contests this season at BMO Field, matching their total from the previous campaign.
  • Toronto are unbeaten in their last three home fixtures versus New York City FC in the regular season.
  • New York City have just one away victory in their last 20 regular season fixtures.
  • New York City have not defeated Toronto at BMO Field since 2018.

Player to Watch

Julian Fernandez

Embed from Getty Images

The Argentine has two goals and an assist to his name in New York City’s last four MLS clashes. He will once again be a key player for the visitors as they seek to end their away hoodoo in MLS.

Fernandez has largely been an impact player but should get his opportunity this weekend. Should he pack a punch on the left, it will also free up space for the likes of Federico Bernardschi to push forward and make an impact.


Toronto FC 2-1 New York City FC

While Toronto FC have been largely solid defensively at home, New York City FC’s poor run of form away from home remains an issue. The game is unlikely to be action-packed, and the home fans should see their team come out on top by a slender margin.

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