TORvsNYCFC - July 26 - one up - Pozuelo vs Heber

Preview: Toronto FC vs. New York City FC | MLS is Back Tournament, Round of 16

2020 MLS is Back Tournament – Round of 16
Toronto FC vs. New York City FC
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
Sun., July 26 – 8:30 PM ET

TV: FS1, FOX Deportes; TSN, TVAS in Canada

STREAMING: FOX Sports App; TSN App, TVAS App in Canada

Two heavyweights from the East will meet in an eagerly anticipated rematch of the Eastern Conference Semifinal from last year. It was Toronto that came out on top on that occasion, going into New York and claiming a victory en route to a third MLS Cup appearance in four years. Toronto has plenty of knockout pedigree, but NYCFC will feel like they are playing with house money in Orlando and will be eager to even the score.

NYCFC has a slight edge in regular-season play, with a 4W-3L-5D record against their Eastern counterparts. But Toronto FC have come out on top when it matters most in Audi MLS Cup Playoff matchups, winning all three of their contests, including a 7-0 aggregate-goal demolition over two legs in 2016.

Toronto FC

One of MLS’s top clubs is looking even stronger than it did before the months-long pandemic-induced hiatus. Despite playing one of the toughest schedules at the MLS is Back Tournament, they’ve had spells of commanding play, crisp passing and clear ideas. It helps that Toronto FC now have a healthy and rested Michael Bradley, Pablo Piatti finally debuted after reaching full fitness and 20-year-old Ayo Akinola has emerged as a legitimate starting option at forward in place of Jozy Altidore, who will be available moving forward. And it’s not hurting that Alejandro Pozuelo is playing at an MVP-caliber level.

A veteran team with a huge amount of playoff experience, Toronto are legit contenders in Orlando, too, and will be a tough out in the Knockouts.

Project Starting XI

Updated team roster

  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Achara (M) - knee surgery
    • OUT: Justin Morrow (D) - Achilles tendinitis
    • QUESTIONABLE: Ayo Akinola (F) - hamstring tightness
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None

New York City FC

Bags will likely have been packed and return journeys planned for NYCFC on the final day of group stage play. And then the LA Galaxy gave the Cityzens a dramatic reprieve with a late equalizer against the Houston Dynamo to send NYCFC through as the fourth and final third-placed team. It has been a tough start to life with last year's best team in the East for new coach Ronny Deila, but there is now reason for optimism after a first win under his charge courtesy of a fine goal by Ismael Tajouri-Shradi against Inter Miami.

Tthe three points weren't the only positive to come out of that final group match for NYCFC: They also saw creative star Maxi Moralez come off the bench to make an early return from injury.

Project Starting XI
  • Updated team roster
  • Injury Report:
    • OUT: Gedion Zelalem (M) - knee injury
    • UNAVAILABLE: Brad Stuver (GK)
  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None

Series Matchup

  • Toronto FC: 3 wins, 22 goals
  • NYCFC: 4 wins, 19 goals
  • 5 draws

Officials

  • Referee: Alex Chilowicz
  • Assistant Referees: Felisha Mariscal, Chris Elliott
  • 4th Official: Armando Villarreal
  • VAR: Timothy Ford
Series: 

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