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Preview: Toronto vs. New York City FC – prediction, team news, lineups



Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Major League Soccer clash between Toronto and New York City FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Matchday 13 of the 2024 MLS regular season begins with a matinee affair at BMO Field on Saturday between Toronto and New York City FC.

The Reds are third in the Eastern Conference thanks to their 3-1 win over Dallas, while the Pigeons are seventh following a 2-0 defeat at home to the Colorado Rapids.

Match preview

© Reuters

After a rough beginning to the month of April, when Toronto lost consecutive matches in this competition, John Herdman seems to have steered the ship back on course.

The former Canadian women’s and men’s national team coach has guided the Reds to five successive victories in all competitions, winning the opening leg of their quarter-final tie with Saint-Laurent in the Canadian Championship on Wednesday (3-0).

Three of those triumphs have come in this competition, making it their longest winning run in a single MLS regular season since 2020, when they claimed five successive domestic victories.

Since conceding three or more goals in every game of their three-match MLS losing run between late March and mid-April, the Reds have been much tidier defensively, conceding a goal or fewer in their last three domestic affairs.

TFC have come away with 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, winning their previous two games against them at BMO Field.

New York City FC forward Julian Fernandez in action versus Toronto© Reuters

A promising homestand for the Boys in Blue ended disappointingly last Sunday as they saw their five-match MLS unbeaten run end.

There seemed to be a lack of intensity against the Rapids last weekend, with the Pigeons struggling to contain the counter and lacking decisiveness in front of goal.

Nick Cushing has praised the importance of working hard collectively, and that message seemed to resonate with them throughout most of their recent home fixtures, scoring seven goals on their five-game homestand, with five different players getting their names on the scoresheet.

The next big challenge for the Pigeons begins on Saturday, with three of their following four league contests occurring away from home, where New York City have yet to win this season.

Their poor away form has been their undoing since Nick Cushing became the permanent head coach ahead of the 2023 campaign, as NYCFC have just one victory in their last 20 regular season fixtures.

That one victory, though, occurred in Canada at Saputo Stadium last year versus CF Montreal on Canada Day (1-0). However, they have not beaten Toronto at BMO Field since 2018 (3-2).

Toronto Major League Soccer form:

Toronto form (all competitions):

New York City FC Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Deandre Kerr celebrates scoring for Toronto at the 2024 Canadian Championship© Reuters

Toronto are expected to be without Lorenzo Insigne for one more week because of a hamstring strain, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty missed their previous encounter for that same reason, while Richie Laryea is likely to miss at least a couple more weeks after undergoing surgery on his hamstring.

Jordan Perruzza sat out for the Reds against Dallas with a sore ankle, Shane O’Neill did not feature due to an issue in his quad and Brandon Servania remains sidelined after rupturing his ACL.

On Tuesday, the club parted ways with Ayo Akinola, who has seen limited action because of injuries over the past couple of seasons, without a goal in MLS since 2022.

Federico Bernardeschi notched a brace for the Reds last Saturday, while Matty Longstaff scored his first as a member of TFC after signing in February.

The Pigeons were without Rio Hope-Gund last weekend due to a leg injury, and Maxi Moralez sat out yet again as he is still recovering from a ruptured ACL sustained last year.

Talles Magno was on the substitutes bench versus the Rapids but has not played a minute this season because of a knee injury, while Thiago Martins played the full 90 minutes after being taken off with a knock in their victory over Charlotte FC (2-1).

Tayvon Gray featured for NYCFC last week for the first time since their 1-1 draw with Atlanta United, replacing Mitja Ilenic in the second half, while Malachi Jones came on as a substitute for the second match running, playing the final 25 minutes plus stoppage time in place of Agustin Ojeda.

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Johnson; Long, Gomis, Rosted; Franklin, Flores, Coello, Spicer; Osorio, Bernardeschi; Owusu

New York City FC possible starting lineup:
Freese; Gray, Martins, Risa, O’Toole; Parks, Sands; Wolf, Rodriguez, Fernandez; Bakrar

SM words green background

We say: Toronto 1-1 New York City FC

The Reds have been fairly tidy defensively at BMO Field, conceding a goal or fewer in all but one of their regular season home fixtures, and we believe they will be able to limit the Pigeons’ opportunities this weekend.

NYCFC are a different side away from home, though they usually can hang around in those contests, which is why we project they will be able to nab a point.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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