New York City FC have advanced in the MLS is Back Tournament, shocking Toronto FC 3-1 in the Round of 16 matchup between the sides on Sunday evening behind goals from Jesus Medina, Valentin Castellanos and Maxi Moralez.
The victory moves the Cityzens through to the tournament quarterfinals, where they'll take on the winner between the Portland Timbers and FC Cincinnati, who play on Tuesday (10:30 pm ET | ESPN; ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada).
Medina got NYCFC off to a dream start just five minutes into the contest, slipping into space after TFC failed to clear a free kick from Ronald Matarrita and cashing home the opener off a feed from Anton Tinnerholm.
Castellanos would find NYCFC's second in the 55th minute, when Moralez found him with a nifty no-look pass and allowing the 21-year-old to beat Westberg with a shot to the far post to make it 2-0, before Moralez then added his first of the season in the 81st minute.
Patrick Mullins pulled one back for Toronto in the 87th minute off a headed assist from substitute Jozy Altdiore that set him up with an easy finish, but NYCFC would see out the 3-1 final, sealing off their revenge for last year's defeat in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs against the Reds and punching their quarterfinals ticket
- 5' - NYCFC - Jesus Medina | WATCH
- 55' - NYCFC - Valentin Castellanos | WATCH
- 81' - NYCFC - Maxi Moralez | WATCH
- 87' - TOR - Patrick Mullins | WATCH
Man of the Match presented by Heineken
Welcome back, Maxi Moralez. The star Argentine had been dealing with calf and quad issues and only played 11 minutes in NYCFC's last match against Inter Miami CF, but he showed the type of impact he can make in this one. His assist on Castellanos' goal was ridiculous.
- THE BIG PICTURE: That's how you bounce back. NYCFC were written off by many after dropping their first two matches of the tournament and squeaking into the Round of 16, but they've completely changed their fortunes. It's not how it was expected to end for Toronto, who normally thrive in these settings. Reds fans can definitely take heart in at least one thing though: 20-year-old forward Ayo Akinola, who didn't play on Sunday due to hamstring tightness, very much appears to be the real deal, putting up five goals in tournament play including a Canadian Classique hat trick against the Montreal Impact.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Medina's quick strike was crucial in giving NYCFC some early confidence and the Cityzens never really looked uncomfortable for any sort of long stretch after it.
- YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: It felt like it had to be a matter of time before this talented NYCFC squad started to look like itself again. They seem to be seeing their luck turn at exactly the right time.
20 - @tatycaste11anos scored his first goal at #MLSisBack with his 20th attempt in the tournament. He took a competition-high 17 shots in the group stage, but failed to find the net. Persistence. pic.twitter.com/EC0mYueWvF— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) July 27, 2020
- NYCFC: Saturday, August 1 vs. Portland-Cincinnati winner, MLS is Back Tournament Quarterfinals (10:30 pm ET | FS1, TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)
- TOR: End of tournament.