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Predicting Toronto FC’s lineup against New York City FC

The boys are back in town! (The USMNT boys, that is.)

MLS: Toronto FC at New York City FC Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

It looks as though Toronto FC will have a much stronger hand on Sunday than they had last week at Yankee Stadium. With the Gold Cup now over, all three designated players are apparently available. Now it's just injuries like Steven Beitashour’s that separate the Reds from a full-strength squad.


Alex Bono

Playing Clint Irwin last weekend against his former team was a nice move, but in a critical Eastern Conference matchup like this one, Bono’s the guy to turn to. As we move into the second half of the season, look for him to start the large majority of games, since he’ll probably be the one in goal during the playoffs.


Nick Hagglund, Drew Moor, Eriq Zavaleta

This decision has become extremely difficult for Greg Vanney. TFC has four players that all deserve to start, but just three spots.

Moor will surely be back in after sitting out the Colorado game. He'll likely be stuck to David Villa all night, as he often was in the playoffs.

I also think Hagglund is definitely part of TFC's best back three. His commanding presence in the box and in the air is something no other player on the team has. He looked great in his return from injury last Saturday, and it'll be good to keep getting him into form.

The third spot is the one that could change, but ultimately I think it's Zavaleta’s job to lose at the moment. Chris Mavinga would probably start for pretty much any other team in MLS, but TFC'S depth at that position is fantastic (and came in handy with all the injuries).


Raheem Edwards, Victor Vazquez, Michael Bradley, Marky Delgado, Justin Morrow

Now that Morrow’s back in the equation, TFC can probably find a better solution at right wing-back than Tsubasa Endoh or Oyvind Alseth. Both he and Edwards would typically compete for the job on the left, but with Beitashour out we could see the more experienced Morrow swap sides. His crossing ability and work rate down the touchline was sorely missed by Toronto during the Gold Cup.

It’s also possible that Nicolas Hasler makes his debut over on the right, with Morrow probably starting over Edwards (who had an off night against Colorado) instead.

TFC’s best central trio will hopefully be reunited on Sunday, with Bradley returning. Despite the heavy shift he put in for the USMNT, I have no doubt he’ll be in for this game. It's Michael Bradley; of course he’ll start.

Delgado played quite well against the Rapids for the most part, but the second half was understandably a little difficult for him. Having to slip into Benoit Cheyrou's role on such short notice is no easy feat for a player who's not used to that kind of job.


Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore

I'm still waiting for Seba to put together a extended run of form this season. Whether it's been injury, international breaks or separation from his strike partner, obstacles have repeatedly come up to quiet him.

Now that Altidore is back, it would be nice to see the two start clicking properly again. They have an opportunity now to really settle back into their roles and reignite their chemistry.

Projected starting XI: