Toronto FC were knocked out of the MLS Is Back tournament on Sunday night after a 3-1 loss to a clinical New York City FC side.
Before the match, it was revealed that Ayo Akinola, the breakout star of this MLS Is Back tournament, was forced to pull out with a hamstring problem. This allowed 17 year old Jayden Nelson to make his long-awaited MLS debut.
NYCFC got off to a great start, scoring the game’s opening goal just five minutes in. After a cross in from a free kick, Anton Tinnerholm spotted Jesus Medina in space and made a perfect pass to him. The Paraguayan fired the ball under Quentin Westberg to give his side the lead.
.@JesusMediina8 opens the scoring in under five minutes for #NYCFC— New York City FC (@NYCFC) July 27, 2020
He’s heating up
Westberg would make a huge stop to deny Medina a second goal in the 35th minute, standing tall to keep the score at 1-0.
35' TOR 0 - 1 NYC— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) July 27, 2020
Westberg with a HUGE !#TFCLive | #MLSisBackpic.twitter.com/3auR9YJC7n
It was a mediocre half from The Reds, and one where they didn’t have many chances to score. Despite being the better of the two teams, NYCFC were only up 1-0 after 45 minutes, leaving Toronto FC with hopes of getting back into the game.
HT: #TFCLive 0 - 1 #NYCFC— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) July 27, 2020
The Reds trail at the half for the first time in the tournament. What does Greg Vanney need to change?#TFCLive | #MLSisBack https://t.co/UiJ0dfu7EO
NYCFC would double their lead after the break, however, as Valentin Castellanos found the back of the net in the 55th minute. The Argentine attacker beat Omar Gonzalez to the ball before cutting inside and firing a shot across the goal and past Westberg.
STRIKE— New York City FC (@NYCFC) July 27, 2020
️ @tatycaste11anos doubles the lead in the Round of 16 #MLSisBack pic.twitter.com/008LNHO9D2
Perhaps too little to late, that prompted a triple-substitution from Greg Vanney, who brought on Jozy Altidore, Erickson Gallardo and Jonathan Osorio for Nick DeLeon, Jayden Nelson and Pablo Piatti, respectively.
57’ | Triple change.— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) July 27, 2020
↩️ Pablo Piatti
0-2 | #TORvNYC | #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/kjRlNSdbE6
Despite Toronto FC’s best efforts, they couldn’t break down a New York team that was better in every area of the pitch. They were defensively sound, strong in midfield, and dangerous up top, and TFC couldn’t handle it.
Maxi Moralez sealed the deal in the the 81st minute, running onto a flick from Heber before calmly slotting the ball past Westberg to put the game out of reach.
Patrick Mullins came off the bench to score a late goal for The Reds, but it was too little, too late, and the match would end 3-1.
87’ TOR 1 - 3 NYC— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) July 27, 2020
Mullins with a late consolation goal for the Reds#TFCLive | #MLSisBack pic.twitter.com/bpf8kw0fEf
New York move onto the quarterfinals of the MLS Is Back tournament, and will play one of FC Cincinnati or Portland Timbers. Toronto FC will have to wait until MLS announces a plan to return to regular season play at some point before they can start planning for their next game.
FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
| #TORvNYC Match Highlights pic.twitter.com/6pzfMa74Ma— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) July 27, 2020