Feels good to be back.
NYCFC are coming off a much-needed two-week rest over the international break after one of the most savage travel schedules in the history of MLS: Four countries, 17,000 air miles, and five games on short rest. As manager Ronny Deila told us, “I’ve never been in a situation like this. So many hotels, so many nights away, so much traveling in a plane.” All those trips took their toll.
Now it’s time for New York City to face their nemesis to the north. NYCFC and Toronto have played each other 20 times: Toronto hold a slight edge with seven wins to NYCFC’s six, plus seven draws between them. Last year, the teams drew twice.
Match: NYCFC at Toronto FC
Date and Time: Saturday, April 2, 4 pm ET
Venue: BMO Field
Stream: YES app
Listen: The game will be broadcast in both English and Spanish on NYCFC Radio
• Injury report: NYCFC Defender Anton Tinnerholm is out with the Achilles injury he suffered last October, and Maxime Chanot sustained a minor injury while on international duty for the Lëtzebuergesch Foussballnationalequip. Tayvon Gray is back in the lineup after recovering from a lower-body issue.
• NYCFC’s shiny new right winger Gabriel Pereira joined the team this week, and has impressed in training—Deila thinks he’s ready to take the field for NYCFC. The 20-year-old certainly looks match-fit, and in his final game for Brazilian side SC Corinthians he lifted a delicious cross into the box that Paulinho nodded home for the game-winner:
• The meteorology club at Margaret Trudeau Middle School reports it will be a brisk 40˚F and overcast at BMO Field at kickoff time.
• A completely remade Toronto squad has yet to find its groove this year under new head coach Bob Bradley, and has just four points after four games. (NYCFC also has four points.) The team offloaded a jaw-dropping 19 players before the start of the season, letting go of Jozy Altidore, Omar Gonzalez, Patrick Mullins, and Dom Dwyer, among others. Toronto made headlines when they signed Italian superstar Lorenzo Insigne, but he won’t join the team until the summer.
• Toronto has two goals apiece from forward Jesús Jimenez, who signed from Górnik Zabrze in Poland’s Ekstraklasa in the offseason, and midfielder Jonathan Osorio, who is just back from international duty with the Canada men’s national team.
• As for Toronto’s 26 goals scored on NYCFC, seven of those belong to Alejandro Pozuelo.
• NYCFC isn’t the only MLS squad with a Designated Player in central defense: Toronto signed the 6’ 2” Carlos Salcedo from Tigres UANL in Liga MX in the offseason.
The comment section below is for everybody in the Hudson River Blue community to use for the game thread. Not a member? It’s free: Sign up here.