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FT: New York City 3, Toronto 1

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NYCFC soars past TFC into the MLS is Back Quarterfinals

MLS: Toronto FC vs New York City FC Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

FT: NYCFC soundly defeat Toronto 3-1 and advance to the Quarterfinals of the MLS is Back Tournament!

This was nearly a perfect performance from start to finish. Medina set the tone with his opening tally within the first five minutes. And from there, the Boys in Blue never looked back. They would defend valiantly throughout the first half. And early on in the second half, Taty Castellanos would net the eventual game-winner before Maxi slotted home some much-needed insurance in the 81st.

Had it not been for City conceding in the 87th minute, this would’ve been a 10/10.


90’+1: Héber chips it over Westberg, but it goes off the crossbar. Damn!


90’: Blues look a bit leaky at the back right now. Gonna take a good effort to stave off Toronto for the four minutes of stoppage time.


87’: Damn. There goes the clean sheet.

Patrick Mullins of all people capitalizes on a nicely headed ball form Jozy. Sean Johnson seemed to save it, but the ball found a way to trickle in. 3-1.


81’: GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLL!!!! NYCFC seals the deal and goes up 3-0!

Alex Ring starts the counter-attack and springs Mackay-Steven down the wing. The Scotsman centers a perfect ball into the middle which is dummy’d by Héber and finds Maxi alone with Westberg. Maxi slots it past the keeper, easy as ya like, and puts this one to rest!


City have about 15 minutes to lock it down. Luckily for them, they have a two-goal cushion. NYCFC have played like a team reborn. They deserve to advance here.


72’: Héber and Gary Mackay-Steven almost combine to lethal effect!

Unfortunately, it’s offside and the shot was saved anyway.


65’: Sands has been a one-man wrecking crew. Every bit of praise towards this young man is more than warranted.


59’: Jozy Altidore commits a hard foul on Maxime Chanot. The City defender has yet to get up off the ground.


55’: GOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLL!!! NYCFC make it 2-0!!!

Maxi Moralez skies a ball over TFC’s backline to Taty Castellanos. The Argentinian sizes up Omar Gonzalez, cuts onto his dominant right foot, and curls it past Westberg. What a goal!

NYCFC take a 2-0 lead! NOBODY EXPECTED THIS!!!


48’: NYCFC definitely has a case for a penalty there. But of course, they won’t get it.


The second half of this Round of 16 matchup is a go! Can City keep their foot on the gas and ensure victory over a brooding Toronto team?


HT: NYCFC lead Toronto 1-0 following a Jesus Medina goal and what is most definitely the best half this team has had all tournament!

Right now, City is doing everything right. They’re creating chances, they’re winning in the trenches, they’re not breaking at the back. Right now, City is everything they’re supposed to be.

Has it been perfect? No. But right now, this play is the difference.


44’: BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

Tonnerholm tracks all the way back and makes a stone cold stop on a Toronto counter.


43’: Tinnerholm inverts with pizzazz and let’s loose a shot. It’s unfortunately right at Westberg.


38’: Yikes! Medina takes a ball straight to the face.

That never feels good. He seems fine, though.


34’: NO! Medina misses a 1-v-1. That’s gotta be a goal, man!

Great counter-attack, though.


30’: And it’s the latter — Maxi comes on.


27’: Tajouri-Shradi just pulled up with a non-contact leg injury. That’s never a good sight. I don’t expect him to continue in this one. Instead, expect either a like-for-like change for Gary Mackay-Steven or for Jesus Medina to move over to the right to facilitate Maxi Moralez coming in.


We’re 20 minutes in. This is the best City have looked all tournament.

Minus some scary moments on the defensive side, NYCFC is moving the ball well and is consistently threatening Toronto’s goal. They feel like the better team.


13’: James Sands has been terrific early. The USMNT needs to give this kid a look.


10’: Toronto gets a good run of play. Luckily, City’s emergency defense is up to par


5’: GOOOOOOAAAALLLLL!!! City jump ahead of Toronto earl!

After a less-than-stellar free kick delivery, Anton Tinnerholm possesses the ball at the top of the box before patiently picking out an open Jesus Medina on the left flank. City’s youngest — and most maligned — Designated Player unleashes a shot too hot for Quentin Westberg.

Great start for the Boys!


The Round of 16 has begun! NYCFC wear the Gotham kits, while Toronto wears their signature red. Strap in. Also, be on the lookout for lightning.


Rosters are out! Confusingly, both Héber and Maxi Moralez are on the bench to start. Instead, Taty Castellanos and Jesus Medina get the start at striker and attacking midfielder, respectively. Not sure on that one, but fitness issues could be to blame. Other than that, no real surprises.


Rosters

New York City Starting XI:

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report:

OUT — Gedion Zelalem (M) - knee injury

Toronto Starting XI:

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report:

OUT — Achara (M) - knee surgery, Justin Morrow (D) - Achilles tendinitis

QUESTIONABLE — Justin Morrow (D) - Achilles tendinitis

  • Referees: Alex Chilowicz (referee); Felisha Mariscal, Chris Elliott (assistant referees); Armando Villarreal (4th official); Timothy Ford (VAR)

How To Watch

Match date & time: July 26, 2020, 8:30 PM ET

Venue: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex , Orlando, FL

Online streaming: Fox Sports App

TV: FS1

Local radio: NYCFC.com/radio

The story: New York City FC advancing into the Knockout Rounds of the MLS is Back Tournament was extremely unlikely after a poor group stage effort. So unlikely, in fact, that FiveThirtyEight gave the team a measly 26% chance of getting through.

The stars have aligned, however, for the Boys in Blue and they are now in official contention to be tournament champions. But in order to do that, they need to dispatch of a familiar old foe — none other than Toronto FC.

We all remember what happened the last time NYCFC and Toronto faced off in a win-or-go-home game; the Reds were gifted a win in the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs after Ronald Matarrita conceded a penalty late in the second half to send the Canadian side through.

Historically speaking, NYCFC have been definitively not good in all-or-nothing games such as these. But it’s a new day. And in order to take home a 2021 CONCACAF Champions League berth and over $1 million in cash money, they must erase the demons of their past.

Here we go, ladies and gentlemen. Strap yourselves in.

This post will update with highlights and information as we receive it.