On Sunday in the Round of 16 at the MLS is Back Tournament (8:30 pm ET | FS1, TSN, TVAS), TFC have a chance at some semblance of vengeance.
“Revenge is the right word here," defender Anton Tinnerholm told reporters on a video conference call Friday. "When we started preseason, we still didn’t forget about the playoffs. When it mattered the most, we weren’t there. Of course we want to take revenge from last year.”
NYCFC's loss to Toronto in March was head coach Ronny Deila's second MLS game in charge and the club's last league game before the four-month break in play. Deila is approaching his second crack at TFC with a new plan.
"The most important is stopping their attacking play," Deila said. "If you can stop them from creating overloads and getting too far into the attacking third, then the attacking players won't get the chance to get the ball where they want it. It's about working hard and not letting them get what they want. The game against Toronto (in March) we didn't play good enough, so now we have a chance to do better. It's a good test for where we stand now."
Essentially, NYCFC have to play on the front foot. That endeavor will be aided by star attacking midfielder Maxi Moralez available to start again, after being limited to just 11 minutes in their last match.
Toronto, meanwhile, are respecting NYCFC despite their early-season struggles which has seen last year's top Eastern Conference finisher take four losses in their first five games.
"It's a team we know well, it's a team we've played against on a number of big days over the last few years," TFC captain Michael Bradley said. "... The core hasn't changed a whole lot, it's a team that wants to play football, rotate guys around and ask questions of you. We'll have to do a good job."
"They haven't maybe connected as well so far this season that they're capable of, but at any point a team of that kind of quality can find that rhythm and be dangerous," TFC head coach Greg Vanney added. "We have to be diligent about how we defend, we have to raise our intensity level. We have to do better than we have done in the games leading up to this."