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It’s been another wild weekend across the league, and the biggest fixture of the lot might be the last one between Toronto FC and New York City FC.
Win at BMO Field today and Toronto will be five points clear in the Supporters’ Shield race, but lose and NYCFC draw level at the top of the pile.
Whereas TFC had to do without Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Justin Morrow when these two sides met at Yankee Stadium 11 days ago, though, this time it is New York City’s turn to prove they have the depth to grind out results with a number of key players missing.
Patrick Vieira has his top stars to call upon in David Villa, Jack Harrison, Maxi Moralez and Alex Ring, but the Pigeons will miss centre-back Maxime Chanot, midfielder Yangel Herrera and winger Rodney Wallace. It will be interesting to see how they cope with the absence of the energetic Herrera in particular, with the out-of-favour Andrea Pirlo among the alternatives Vieira will choose from.
As we mentioned in the aftermath, the really disappointing thing about Toronto’s failure to beat the lowly Colorado Rapids last weekend was that it marked the end of their - lengthy - section of the season that has been compromised by forced rotation of the starting lineup. They were so close to exiting it with another hard-earned three points.
Nevertheless, that run is now over and Toronto can look ahead to a decongested fixture list, three home games in their next five and an away trip to a D.C. United team haemorrhaging goals.
The Supporters’ Shield run-in starts here and Toronto’s fate rests largely in their own hands. You can’t ask for much more than that.
Kick-off: 2pm ET
Venue: BMO Field, Toronto
TV channel & live stream
TV: TSN 4 & 5 (Canada), ESPN (USA)
Stream: TSN Go (Canada), WatchESPN (USA)
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto), WFAN (New York)
Steven Beitashour remains out for Toronto and Benoit Cheyrou has joined him on the sidelines, but Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Justin Morrow are back in contention. Nicolas Hasler could make his debut.
New York City have a long injury list, with Rodney Wallace, Maxime Chanot, Ronald Matarrita, Miguel Camargo, Khiry Shelton and James Sands all ruled out and Yangel Herrera suspended. Ben Sweat is expected to feature, though, despite a recent head injury.
Toronto: Bono; Zavaleta, Moor, Hagglund; Hasler, Delgado, Bradley, Vazquez, Morrow; Altidore, Giovinco.
New York City: Johnson; Allen, Brillant, Callens, Sweat; Moralez, Ring, Pirlo; Harrison, Villa, Lewis.