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FT: Toronto FC 2-1 NYCFC — MLS Cup Playoffs Game Thread

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The Reds’ season is on the line when they head to New York to play Eastern Conference leaders NYC FC at Citi Field

MLS: Toronto FC at New York City FC
Toronto FC midfielder Tsubasa Endoh (31) plays the ball against New York City FC during the second half at Yankee Stadium.
(Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

LIVE Game Thread



90+3 — SEE THIS ONE OUT.....




87’ — I thought for sure NYCFC was finding the back of the net after that. You can’t lose the ball there Poz, not at this time...

86’ — Back-to-back corners for TFC here. Can they take advantage??

83’ — Another half-chance for Toronto as Mullins turns and quickly shoots at the top of the box. Might have had more time than that.

82’ — Best bit of football for TFC in a while as DeLeon does well to create a chance. Corner for TFC — their first of the second half. The Reds have settled a bit.

78’ — Richie could be an x-factor (for either side) in this match.

76’ — Laryea for Morrow may be a like for like as Morrow has done a ton of running today. They’ve liked their LB getting forward. Also, Auro has been great down the right side.

72’ — TFC hanging on by a thread here.... great goal-line clearance by Ciman.

70’ — Patrick Mullins comes on for Benezet to provide a sole attacking presence up front for Toronto FC

69’ — GOAL! Toronto FC 1-1 New York City FC. Awful defending by Toronto FC as Tajouri-Shradi is left open at the back post. Good finish off the volley, but just brutal.

64’ — Castellanos looked like superman there getting up for that header. TFC still holding strong as they throw bursts of attacks at the New York defence. Vanney changing formation with NYCFC changing theirs as he’s done quite often this season.

62’ — Matarrita was in for NYCFC but he can’t control it. TFC need to tighten up as DeLeon preps to come in for Endoh.

60’ — Heber comes on for New York. They’re pressing. Westberg up to the task so far. A lot of time left....

58’ — CHANCE! Castellanos turns at the top of the box and fires but his shot goes just high and wide. Moralez follows up that attempt with a volley which is saved by Westberg.

57’ — Too much time spent in TFC’s attacking third. I wonder how long until we see Richie Laryea or Omar Gonzalez.

54’ — Westberg gets a bit lucky there as Toronto FC are hemmed into their end. Thankfully Benezet gets back as Mavinga was down after being struck with a shot.

50’ — That’s a lot of bonuses on the prediction league. Tuck in, and hit em on the counter now. We’re going to need another.

48’ — GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! POZUELO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Toronto FC 1 - 0 NYCFC. Maxine Chanot gifts Poz who, credit to him, finishes his chance. What an ugly backwards header. TFC will take it. Here we go Reds.

46’ — Second half underway. NYCFC trying to get more advantages with their atrocious pitch by not watering TFC’s attacking side.... yikes. THEY’RE SCARED.

Frustrated that the Reds couldn’t take the lead. Hoping that doesn’t come back to haunt them in the second half.

HT: Toronto FC 0 - 0 NYCFC — Great half from Toronto FC, but they enter the break scoreless. Should the Reds change anything to start the second half?

42’ — This isn’t the same NYCFC team. They’ve looked disconeccted in the attacking third. Credit to TFC though who have put out the fires so far.

37’ — CHANCE! Toronto FC starting to show their quality now as that back heel to Oso from Endoh was gorgeous but the Canadian couldn’t finish. Good save by Johnson.

33’ — NYCFC fans certainly showed up for this one. Credit to them as it’s loud at Citi Field.

31’ – TFC get a makeup call there. Benezet clearly dives. This ref okay... or? We’ll take it.

29’ — CHANCE! Wow, what a save by Westberg!! NYCFC take a FK really quickly — much to the chagrin of TFC players — and Castellanos is in one-on-one, but Q comes up big.

26’ — Chris Mavinga and Justin Morrow are getting pulled too far up the field at times. Watch for NYCFC to expose the space in behind.

22’ — Penalty shout for Toronto FC! Endoh goes down with contact, but the referee believes that there was no chance that the Japanese attacker was getting to the ball. Was that a penalty? At first glance, I thought it may be. But after the replay, I have to agree with the ref.

20’ — CHANCE! Great play by Pozuelo and Benezet that starts with Tsubasa Endoh picking out a pass into Poz. Justin Morrow finds himself with a half chance but can’t find the target.

19’ — You almost have to work harder on a smaller sized pitch like this. Hopefully TFC aren’t too fatigued from Saturday.

15’ — CHANCE! Great work by Auro down the right wing, as he slips it inside to Pozuelo. His strike is decent, and a good save by the NYCFC GK. TFC are creating quite a bit down that right-hand side.

13’ — And NYCFC have settled in. Toronto FC looking thin at the back at times...but Westberg still hasn’t been tested.

11’ — Justin Morrow can’t step that high. Risky tackle by Ciman 1v1.

9’ — Great step up on the offside trap there by the TFC back 4. Ciman looking like a leader early on. Benezet is looking really nice....

8’ — TFC look willing while NYC look nervous. Now may be the time for the Reds to pounce.

5’ — I love it Endoh. Confident to cut in on his left foot. Good chance again for the Reds.

4’ — Osorio was in there! He elected to pass, but it was the wrong decision.

3’ — Thought Endoh might’ve been clipped there. Positive start for the away team early on as TFC are pressing high.

1’ — We’re off. New York City FC kickoff. Let’s do this Toronto FC.

7:18 p.m. — About to get going here. Butterflies. Let’s do this.

7:13 p.m. — Regardless of what happens today, shoutout Quentin Westberg for a great season. Hopefully he can keep his ridiculous form up today as I’m sure his number will be called upon plenty. Does his ability to come out and play the ball benefit TFC on the smaller pitch?

7:11 p.m. — There should honestly be a rule on how big a pitch could be. Or if there is a rule, make it a good one. This is a joke. Why are we trying to change the game?

7:06 p.m. — Greg Vanney says Jozy Altidore hasn’t been able to strike or shoot a ball as yet.

7:01 p.m. — Laryea or Auro? Didn’t think TFC would have this much depth at RB at the start of the season. Bet we see the Canadian come on in the second half.

6:58 p.m. — Interesting to see how the False 9 works against a team with the quality of NYCFC. Could be a disaster, could be genius. Either way, the Reds will likely do most of their work off the counter

6:50 p.m. — 10 minutes until coverage starts. I’m assuming a later kickoff than the 7 p.m. that was announced...

6:40 p.m. — Ciman and Mavinga need to have another big game at the back. Keep a close eye on Mavinga, especially, because he was banged up at D.C. on Saturday.

6:34 p.m. — TFC love playing New York on small fields... I don’t know why, but they’re always up for a battle — especially in their midfield led by captain Michael Bradley. Can the Reds recreate some magic in the Big Apple?

6:25 p.m. — Starting lineups are out. Gonzalez fit enough to make the bench; No Altidore.

6:15 p.m. — Also some GREAT pre-game content to hold you off until game time: Gianluca Lia’s read on Marky Delgado and his influence on making Toronto FC tougher to play against.

6:07 p.m. — Make sure to leave your guesses in our prediction league prior to kickoff!

6:00 p.m. EST — Buzzing. We’re live from Downtown Toronto tonight as I’ve seen tons of TFC gear around the city. Love to see it.

Starting Lineups

How the Regular Season Eastern Conference champs will lineup against the Reds tonight at Citi Field...

Altidore doesn’t make the 18. Gonzalez makes the bench. Otherwise the same XI for the Reds that we saw at BMO Saturday against D.C....

Preview (courtesy Brady Reid)

Four. The number of goals Toronto FC scored in one half of extra time Saturday night against D.C. United. Unfortunately, four is also the number of days between playoff matches for TFC as the Reds are back in action Wednesday night when they take on New York City FC at Citi Field.

While Toronto’s turn around between matches is a swift one, their second round opponents have been out of game action for over two weeks, although sources have confirmed to WTR that New York played a friendly fixture against the Chicago Fire behind closed doors some time last week in order to keep their legs fresh.

Having finished atop the Eastern conference standings, NYC FC earned a bye in the first round of the MLS Cup Playoffs, and as a result have not played in MLS action since defeating Philadelphia Union 2-1 back on October 6.

Both sides enter Wednesday’s contest in red hot form of late. TFC’s 5-1 result against D.C. United made it eleven straight matches without defeat dating back to the regular season.

For NYC FC, their final eleven regular season matches consisted of only one loss to go with eight victories and a pair of draws.

Despite New York’s success, Toronto has fared well against their Big Apple rivals this season. In the two regular season meetings between the sides, the Reds picked up four out of a possible six points. Most recently, the two teams played back on September 11 to a 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium (note the venue change for the upcoming playoff game).

Prior to that, Alejandro Pozuelo emphatically introduced himself to NYC FC and all of Major League Soccer way back on March 29 when he scored two goals and added an assist in his magical MLS debut at BMO Field.

Although the game is taking place at an alternate venue, expectations are that the Citi Field surface should have similar — if not smaller dimensions — to that of Yankee Stadium. This smaller playing surface is a big part of the reason New York had so much success on their own pitch, losing only one match at home all season.

While this is sure to be a challenge for the Reds, TFC starting goalkeeper Quentin Westberg insists his side is prepared for it.

“It’s just adapting once more... adapting to the size of the field, (adapting) to the opposition also,” said Westberg speaking media following a training session on Monday. “It’s going to be a totally different team than D.C. (United,) but we’re embracing it. It’s great to be there, and we’re definitely going to give them a battle.”

The status of Jozy Altidore and Omar Gonzalez remains unclear heading into Wednesday with both players having missed out on the home match against D.C. United. On top of these two, Chris Mavinga and Marky Delgado were both forced to exit training early Monday due to undisclosed injuries picked up against D.C. United.

Based on comments from Greg Vanney following training on Monday, Mavinga and Delgado will be fit to play Wednesday night, while Gonzalez is probable to play.

Considering Altidore was unavailable to even make the 18-man squad on Saturday, it seems a spot in the starting XI is a long shot, with a substitution appearance likely reserved in the case of a much needed late goal.

For Vanney’s group, the aim will be to pick up exactly where they left off in extra time on Saturday. The Reds’ recent form, the potential for reinforcements in Altidore and Gonzalez, and their success against NYC FC this season should lead to a confident group heading into Wednesday night’s single elimination match at Citi Field.

Additional Notes:

  • Wednesday’s match will be New York City FC’s second ever home game played at Citi Field. The club last played there two years ago when they hosted Columbus Crew SC on Decision day back in 2017, playing to a 2-2 draw.
  • Alejandro Pozuelo converted six out of the seven penalties he took this season. His lone miss from the spot came against NYC FC, with goalkeeper Sean Johnson denying the Spaniard.
  • The two teams last met in the post season back in 2016 when Major League Soccer still used the two-leg aggregate score format. Toronto FC comfortably defeated New York 7-0 on aggregate, with former Red Sebastian Giovinco infamously scoring a hat-trick away at Yankee Stadium in leg two.

Predicted Starting XI

Waking The Red’s Predicted Starting XI vs. NYC FC — Oct. 23
(Jeffrey P. Nesker/Waking the Red)

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