Toronto FC vs. New York City
7:30 PM Eastern
Yankee Stadium New York, New York
The Headliner: Keeping it Tidy at the Back
Toronto FC and New York City FC are two of the worst defensive teams in the league, something that came majorly into play last time the two teems met. The score was a ridiculous 4-4 on that day, and neither team will be looking to replicate that performance.
Instead, it will be the team that plays better defensively who will likely emerge with a victory in today's match, something Toronto have surely worked on all week. New York City has scored the vast majority of their goals at home so far this season in the small field at Yankee Stadium.
They have also conceded a ton more goals at home than on the road, meaning that the goals should come if Toronto is able to stop the New York offence.
This game is crucial for another reason: its playoff implications. By most measures New York would be considered out of the playoff race, at least far away from catching Toronto. They are a full nine points behind TFC and have played one more game.
But in a bottom of the Eastern Conference that has been inexplicably poor lately, stringing a couple of wins together could put New York City FC right back in contention.
This game is equally important for Toronto's playoff story, which has become more bleak over the past few games. While the team still looks likely to make the postseason, they have been consistently falling in the Eastern Conference standings.
A loss today would put their PPG dangerous close to the Montreal Impact, who sit in sixth place and the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. It would also put them within three points of the Impact, should Montreal overcome San Jose in a match later tonight.
Key To The Game: Shielding the Backline
Toronto FC have missed Benoit Cheyrou and Collen Warner. Without those two players the team's lack of a defensive midfielder has been consistently exploited. It was against Seattle, and it was done so glaringly last match against the New England Revolution.
Aside from this, Cheyrou has been crucial to the Toronto attack all season. The holding midfielder is often charged with starting the plays for Toronto, before Jonathan Osorio and Michael Bradley take over and move the ball into the final third.
Warner is the team's only true destroyer, and was instrumental to a number of victories before he was suspended for a tackle on Dominic Oduro against the Montreal Impact. His return should give the team a boost, and improve their defensive shape.
Toronto FC- Konopka, Delgado, Williams, Kantari, Morrow, Warner, Cheyrou, Osorio, Bradley, Giovinco, Altidore
Subs: Bendik, Perquis, Zavaleta, Chapman, Gomez, Moore, Hagglund
After playing 5 defenders last week, Toronto will be switching back to a traditional four this time around. Marky Delgado will continue to play right back while Josh Williams will shift inward to replace Damien Perquis in the middle alongside Ahmed Kantari. As always, Justin Morrow will play at leftback.
In the middle of the park Toronto will be bolstered by the return of Benoit Cheyrou from injury and Collen Warner from suspension. They will join the already strong central pair of Jonathan Osorio and Michael Bradley.
Follow along in the comments section below for what should be an entertaining, goal-filled game.