The Headliner: The New Guys
For the most part this season, Toronto FC has been healthy, and it has contributed to the team's success. However, after both Jonathan Osorio and Jozy Altidore went down with injury on Saturday, joining Marky Delgado and Benoit Cheyrou on the injured reserve, replacements are going to be needed for today's match.
There is a possibility that Osorio returns for today's match as his foot injury is not nearly as bad as it first appeared when he was stomped on by Fraser Aird. However, he rushed back from injury last time for the club's home opener, and may not be in such a hurry to do that again.
In his place, it is likely that Canadian Jay Chapman gets his first start of the season. Chapman had a solid game against the Vancouver Whitecaps. His ability on the ball makes him a good options in the attacking midfield for Toronto.
More importantly, perhaps, Jozy Altidore will be out of the lineup for six to eight weeks after yet another hamstring injury. In his place, Mo Babouli will start up front. The Canadian attacker has had mixed results off the bench this year, but this is undoubtedly his best opportunity to prove his worth.
Both will be crucial to the result that Toronto FC can accomplish today, against a team at the top of the Eastern Conference. A win today would put Toronto momentarily at the top of the conference, an opportunity they missed out on against Vancouver.
New York City FC, surprisingly, has been in very good shape lately, winning their last two games. They have been good on the road this year, where they are 3-2-0.
Key to the Game: Stop David Villa, Please
Isolating one player when it comes to the keys of the game is a dangerous policy, but in David Villa's case he has earned it. The NYCFC striker sits joint top goalscorer in the league with Sebastian Giovinco, having scored eight goals so far this season.
More importantly, he has been a Toronto FC killer. In all but one meeting between these two team's he has scored 2 goals. Earlier this season he did that again in a 2-2 draw at Yankee Stadium. Toronto FC supporters will remember a game from last year in which he scored twice, and NYCFC stole three points, in a 2-0 win at BMO Field.
If Toronto FC wants to stop Villa today, the first step is not to give him a chance from the penalty spot. Half of Villa's goals against Toronto have come from penalties. Otherwise, it will take some strong defending from Josh Williams and Drew Moor in order to contain New York's most dangerous threat.
Toronto FC: Irwin; Morrow, Moor, Williams, Beitashour; Bradley, Johnson, Chapman, Endoh; Babouli, Giovinco
Subs: Bono, Bloom, Hagglund, Lovitz, Perquis, Zavaleta
New York City FC: Saunders; Martinez, Hernandez, Brillant, White; Bravo, Poku, Mix; Ballouchy, Mendoza, Mullins
Location: BMO Field Toronto, Ontario
Kick-off time: 7:00 PM Eastern
SB Nation OPPOSITION Blog: Hudson River Blue
Available TV: TSN 4 & 5
Available streaming: TSN Go
Available radio: TSN 1050
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.