The Headliner: Sweeping New York
Last weekend Toronto FC did something they never have before: win at Red Bull Arena. A week later they will be looking for another first, a win against the New York City FC.
Last season the expansion team was a thorn in Toronto FC's side. They beat Toronto 2-0 twice, and drew them 4-4 at Yankee Stadium. In the process they cost Toronto crucial points In the club's playoff race.
Games between the two teams were also known to be a little bit feisty last year. In their first ever meeting, New York would severely frustrate Toronto FC. They would foul Sebastian Giovinco repeatedly, something to which both club and player took exception. After the match Damien Perquis would lose his cool and would have to be escorted off the pitch by teammates.
While New York certainly played a gritty brand of soccer in that match, they also have plenty of skill. Their trio of European legends: Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and Frank Lampard, are only the start. The club's offence has improved this offseason, something fully on display in their 4-3 season opening win over the Chicago Fire.
Toronto will come into this match without at least two attacking players. Jozy Altidore is out with hamstring strain for yet another match. Meanwhile, Daniel Lovitz, who started last game, is out with concussion like symptoms.
Key to the game: Stick to the game plan
Toronto FC beat the defending Supporter's Shield champion New York Red Bulls last weekend because they had a perfectly executed game plan. There wasn't anything pretty about it, but it was effective. It was how one has to win on the road in this league, something this team has struggled with in the past.
Today, against a New York team with less defensive prowess, they can afford to play a little more offensively. But they still have to maintain structured play that makes sure they do not need to risk conceding a goal in order to score one.
The club also has to make sure they are better on the ball, something they struggled with last match. This isn't surprising considering how many new faces have been introduced into the starting 11, but will need to be fixed soon. Toronto will not win many matches with poor possession numbers and bad pass accuracy.
Toronto FC: Irwin, Morrow, Moor, Perquis, Beitashour, Delgado, Bradley, Johnson, Osorio, Endoh, Giovinco