Well, that’s that. It looked for a moment that Toronto FC were going to hang on for a point against some tough competition, but Ismael Tajouri-Shradi had other ideas. The tone was set early as Jozy Altidore saw a red card in the 11th minute for a kick on Alexander Callens. TFC stirred up hope a couple times, though, with Sebastian Giovinco equalizing sublimely not long after, and then Victor Vazquez doing the same thing in the second half.
It was not to be, though, as Tajouri-Shradi’s second of the match killed the Reds in the 88th minute. It’s not necessarily an undeserved result for TFC; although they actually did hold their own with just 10 men, NYCFC were the better team on the day. Communication was quite sloppy for the Reds, as they struggled to play out of the back.
At this point, TFC should just be shifting their focus to Wednesday night, with the Canadian Championship final a major priority. There’ll be no reservations about playing Jozy Altidore and Chris Mavinga for 90 minutes there, but it’ll hurt if Victor Vazquez is injured and can’t take part.
On to the next one. This was an afternoon to forget for TFC, as quickly as possible.
88’ Toronto FC 2-3 New York City FC — Ah. Tajouri-Shradi scores a belter from outside the box to put NYCFC back in front on the cusp of full time. Not TFC’s day.
85’ — Jon Bakero is making his TFC debut, replacing Victor Vazquez. Interesting to see if he can make an impact.
67’ — Drew Moor klaxon!!! The centre-back is making his return to the lineup off the bench, replacing Eriq Zavaleta. Ashtone Morgan is also coming in on the left side in place of Justin Morrow. David Villa also leaves, but he’s replaced by known TFC-killer Jo Inge Berget.
51’ Toronto FC 2-2 New York City FC — Marvelous team goal from TFC to get back level. Perfect linkup between Giovinco and Osorio on the side of the box, and a wonderful cross by Oso to find Marky Delgado, who heads it perfectly for Vazquez to dive and finish with his head. Fantastic goal, but Vazquez looks to have hurt his shoulder on the dive... Rejoins play, but still holding his left side.
Some header ping pong on that second goal. #TFCLive pic.twitter.com/m0TEP9C3Ow— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) August 12, 2018
46’ — We back. No changes for the Reds at halftime, save Victor Vazquez pushing further forward.
HT — Not an ideal first half. Great work from Seba to score, but TFC’s defence has been very poor and the players are starting to lose control. They really need to take a deep breath and sort it out for the second half. Might be time for Vanney to make a change.
40’ — Michael Bradley is pissed, and he picks up a yellow card. Cynical tackle with the ball well out of the way, and some very animated words directed at the referee. Not sure whether the players or fans are more agitated right now.
36’ Toronto FC 1-2 New York City FC — Ismael Tajouri-Shradi puts the visitors in front this time. He takes it himself all the way across the top of the box and hammers it in. Not a great piece of goalkeeping from Alex Bono, who got a hand to it, but still a well-hit ball.
Alex Bono really should've done better on that goal, Tajouri's shot went straight underneath him. Also bad by Delgado to jump over the ball instead of going in hard on the 50-50.#TORvNYC #TFC #TFCLive #NYCFC #MLS pic.twitter.com/MyT9mUZ0UQ— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) August 12, 2018
34’ — Jonathan Osorio picks up a yellow card for dissent, I think. Had some choice words for referee Grajeda.
28’ Toronto FC 1-1 New York City FC — My word Seba. Giovinco gets the ball on the counter attack at the corner of the box, and he places it perfectly into the bottom left corner of the net (his favourite spot). Boy did TFC ever need that. What a goal from the Italian.
One chance is all it takes #TFCLive | #TORvNYC pic.twitter.com/Q6X9h8PQzu— Toronto FC (@torontofc) August 12, 2018
23’ — The BMO Field crowd has been booing Alex Callens mercilessly. Probably to be expected when they’re not shown a replay of Jozy’s red card play.
16’ Toronto FC 0-1 New York City FC — David Villa scores (who else?). Rough start to the game for TFC, who now need to claw back without Altidore.
Welcome back David Villa. “Assist” by Tinnerholm. #NYCFC #TFCLive #MLS #TORvNYC pic.twitter.com/1pbotfWLCb— Home Sweet Soccer (@HomeSweetSoccer) August 12, 2018
11’ — Jozy Altidore is sent off for a completely unnecessary kick on Alexander Callens. Definitely a fair call, unfortunately. TFC are down a striker.
Jody Altidore just lost his damn mind pic.twitter.com/SQq6oFADhm— brooklyn crisis actor (@bkcrICEsactor) August 12, 2018
1’ — Wonderful weather for kickoff. New York City FC will get the ball first, headed toward the south end. TFC attack the north.
Lineups posted below, at the bottom of the article! The Reds return to a 4-4-2, with Drew Moor only making the bench, while David Villa does indeed start for NYCFC.
The sun is shining on this glorious Sunday afternoon, and Toronto FC are back at BMO Field, with a six-game unbeaten run trailing behind them. This time, it’s New York City FC standing in front of them, with a little extra motivation, having failed to win their last two games.
NYCFC will have a bit of a boost this weekend as well, as David Villa finally looks set to make his return (he was injured the last time TFC played NYCFC a few weeks ago, and hasn’t played since — although he was suspended last weekend for skipping the All-Star Game, ridiculously). TFC know how dangerous Villa can be, although he hasn’t always ripped apart the Reds like he has some other MLS opposition.
Toronto have a 3-4-3 all-time record against New York City. Interestingly, the Reds have never conceded a goal in a game they’ve won against NYCFC — that includes the 7-0 aggregate drubbing in the 2016 playoffs, and the 4-0 win at BMO last July.
These sides have had some incredibly entertaining contests in the past. Who could forget their first-ever meeting in 2015, when Sebastian Giovinco scored a hat-trick within nine minutes en route to a 4-4 draw? Seba has nine goals against NYCFC, with two hat-tricks (the other coming at Yankee Stadium in the 2016 playoffs), and a brace in the 4-0 game last season. Perhaps he’s extra motivated when playing against Villa, to whom he’s been compared since the two entered the league in 2015.
The Reds are seven points behind the Montreal Impact for the last playoff spot in MLS. Montreal dropped points in a draw last night against Real Salt Lake, and a win today could put Toronto FC ahead of Orlando City into eighth place. It’s a big ask for a Chris Mavinga-less TFC to beat New York City FC, but it would go a long way.
Drew Moor may be back to help out TFC’s cause, although I’d be a little wary of expecting him to be a massive game-changer immediately. There’s no denying his excellent organizational skills in a back three, but he’s 34, and he hasn’t played since TFC (II) lost to the Colorado Rapids in April. Who knows if he’ll be the same player.
Anyway, here we go. It’ll be key for the Reds to suffocate Villa (the defenders can take tips from Sebastian Giovinco; he’s had it done to him enough), and to exploit the wings. Justin Morrow may be called into action a lot, especially with Auro out of the lineup today, and Victor Vazquez will surely be needed to unlock the defence.
This would be a massive win for TFC, should they pull it off, and it would add a little extra momentum going into Wednesday’s Canadian Championship finale.
Team news: injuries & suspensions
Toronto FC: MLS lists the Reds’ only injury as Drew Moor, but that’s wrong. Moor is likely ready for inclusion in the side, but it’s Auro who may not be available this afternoon after picking up an injury last weekend in Atlanta. Chris Mavinga is, of course, suspended (for this game and the next) after seeing a red card at full-time against Atlanta United.
New York City FC: Midfielder Yangel Herrera (ankle) and defender Cedric Hountondji (hamstring) are sidelined today, and first-choice goalkeeper Sean Johnson (shoulder) is listed as questionable.
How to watch
Match date/time: Sunday, August 12, 4 p.m. ET
TV channel: TSN 4, TSN 4K (Canada), ESPN 3 (USA)
Live stream: TSN GO (Canada), ESPN+ (USA)
Radio: TSN 1050 (Toronto)
Looks like a return to a back four for #TFCLive this afternoon: pic.twitter.com/WoJKrxeeaL— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) August 12, 2018
Bench: Irwin, Moor, Telfer, Morgan, Chapman, Bakero, Ricketts
New York City FC:
| Teamsheet Toronto #ForTheCity pic.twitter.com/JKqkSf0jBc— New York City FC (@NYCFC) August 12, 2018