Toronto FC v NYC FC: Can The Reds Take Another Bite Out of the Big Apple?
TFC vs NYCFC, Yankee Stadium, 5pm ET, Sportsnet One
Well last week was fun wasn’t it? It really was; a surprising win (and clean sheet!) to start the season? What’s not to like? Today in their second game of the season, Toronto FC make the trek to the house the Pirlo built, historic Yankee Field to take on NYCFC. Even though this is only the second game of the season it already seems as though the expectations for TFC have been ratcheted up after their surprising win against the Red Bulls last weekend – what’s your choice for the parade route, mine’s Bay Street. While expecting good things from your team is normal, and TFC fans like to grasp at optimism when it’s on offer, there are a few things that perhaps should temper some of that positivity.
TFC only managed to get a draw in three games against NYCFC last year; yes there was that rather entertaining 4-4 game with the see-saw scoring (and a Seba hat trick) back in July; nonetheless they struggled against the expansion side. Part of that struggle was David Villa basically owning TFC for two games, scoring four goals in total – two of those in their first meeting when it was literally all Villa in a 2-0 loss for Toronto. As well Patrick Mullins and Frank Lampard also caused TFC some problems, as did the physical style of play that then coach Jason Kreis (Superstar!) had City playing.
Another potential issue for today’s game (and perhaps more), is Toronto’s still weakened strike force: Jozy Altidore is still out injured and now Dan Lovitz (who is apparently now an attacking player) is out with concussion symptoms after a collision in practise. Of course Seba is more than capable of taking over a game and scoring at will, and Tsubasa Endoh looked very good last week, but two players is not going to fill you with confidence going forward into the season. With injuries and Herculez Gomez & Luke Moore released, there are valid questions about where goals will come from – although according to reports Ben Spencer is to be signed at any moment, but he’s dealing with injury etc so even if true, he’s hardly an immediate solution.
The scoring issue brings us to the Starting XI; as in who gets the start – Cheyrou or Delgado? Personally I think it’s going to be Cheyrou, with Delgado available to come on as sub like last week. With the tiny pitch at Yankee Stadium the game shrinks and having a smart veteran like Cheyrou in the midfield to help disrupt David Villa and Pirlo should pay dividends for Toronto. Osorio can push up and tuck in behind Seba, while Endoh seems quite comfortable going both directions on the right. Having Cheyrou on the pitch also helps to support the attack with his vision and passing ability.
Things You Need To Know:
- Patrick Vieira is now coaching NYCFC; yes THAT Patrick Vieira
- City were just as defensively inept as TFC last season
- Pirlo really is the most interesting man in soccer; but he doesn’t defend
- City have a (potential) CB pairing of Brilliant and Bravo. Seriously. This is amazing
- Michael Bradley played some tidy defense last week; will he do so again?
- NYC scored FOUR goals last weekend
- NYC conceded THREE goals to Chicago last weekend. Yes, three.
- TFC only need five more points to meet Bill Manning’s minimum for the season starting road trip
Will TFC win today? Honestly I think it’s unlikely; but I do think they can get a draw. Playing at Yankee stadium is annoying, City are a solid side and well, back to back wins, on the road, are not exactly a thing for Toronto or any team in MLS for that matter. It’s likely to be scrappy, and with limited space to operate, probably not very pretty. Will be watching to see if both Bradley and Endoh can have solid repeat performances, as well as watching to see if the back four and Clint Irwin are continuing to gel. Even though both teams like to score I’m thinking this one will be a low scoring affair and am sticking with my 1-1 prediction from the podcast.