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Match Preview: Toronto FC play host to familiar foes New York City FC

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The Reds look to start a new streak after last weekend’s shocker

Toronto FC v New York City FC
Alejandro Pozuelo #10 of Toronto FC takes the penalty kick on Sean Johnson #1 of New York City for the winning goal in the second half of the Major League Soccer match between Toronto FC and New York City FC at Red Bull Arena on September 23, 2020 in Harrison, New Jersey.
Photo by Ira L. Black - Corbis/Getty Images

TORONTO, Canada— Following a 5-0 thumping at the hands of the Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC looks to get back on the horse Wednesday night in Hartford when they host their old friends New York City FC.

This past weekend’s humbling defeat was the most lopsided loss of the season for the Reds, snapping a nine-game unbeaten run.

With just three regular-season matches left to settle the currently tied Supporters’ Shield race, TFC desperately needs a result on home soil against The Boys in Blue.

NYCFC had gone three straight without a win before they topped the Montreal Impact 3-1 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday evening.

It’s been an up-and-down campaign for New York who has taken some time to grow accustomed to new manager Ronny Deila.

After a shaky start to the season, Deila’s side managed to lose just once in a ten-game stretch from late August to early October (a 1-0 defeat at the hands of TFC.)

Injuries have continued to plague the Reds down the stretch as the regular season comes to a close. Alex Bono, Jozy Altidore, and Ifunanyachi Achara all remained sidelined for the time being.

Joining them on Wednesday night is Jonathan Osorio who Greg Vanney described as ‘right there’, as well as winger Pablo Piatti whose diagnosis is a little less encouraging amid fears the Argentine may be out until the playoffs with a calf strain.

The good news for TFC is Ayo Akinola should be available to lead the line against NYCFC.

Reinforcements at the back should also be ready for Wednesday as Eriq Zavaleta appears to be fit for this one, while Chris Mavinga is likely a last-minute decision.

Although not nearly as banged up as TFC, New York have some fitness concerns of their own.

Brazilian forward Héber will miss the remainder of the 2020 season after suffering a serious ACL injury last month when these two sides last met on September 25th.

Heber is joined on the mend by James Sands, Gedion Zelalem, and Tayvon Gray, who will all be missing for The Bronx Blues through the rest of 2020.

Wednesday marks the fourth contest between the two sides of the calendar year. TFC came out on top 1-0 in both regular-season fixtures, the first affair being the only match they played at BMO Field all season way back on March 7th.

NYCFC got the best of the Reds in the MLS is Back round of sixteen by a score of 3-1, standing as their only win in the past seven attempts against their long time Kryptonite.

While Toronto has enjoyed a competitive advantage in recent memory, the next chapter of TFC-NYCFC is sure to be as entertaining as any with massive Eastern Conference playoff implications at stake.

Additional Notes:

  • While equal on points with Philadelphia at 41, the Reds are currently second in the Supporters’ Shield standings due to an inferior goal differential.
  • Quentin Westberg and Sean Johnson sit tied for fourth place in the league for clean sheets this season with six a piece.