It’s is Matchday 7, and New York City FC take on Toronto FC at Citi Field at 5 pm ET. Let’s be honest: Citi Field is a good place to watch soccer, as far as baseball parks go—intimate, handsome, good food. In case you’re keeping count, this is NYCFC’s first game in Queens this season, and their fifth home venue so far this year.
NYCFC are coming off a cathartic 6-0 dismantling of Real Salt Lake last Sunday in which Taty Castellanos scored a club-record four goals in one game, and Thiago added two beautifully-worked goals of his own. More importantly, the team looked relaxed, focused, and ready to play. That game marked the end of NYCFC’s CONCACAF Champions League hangover.
NYCFC and Toronto have a long and contentious history. The two teams have played 21 times, and the Canadians have the edge: NYCFC’s record is 6W-7D-8L, with 28 goals scored and 38 goals allowed.
Two of Toronto’s goals were scored just three weeks ago on April 4, when NYCFC lost 1-2 after a blown penalty call took New York City’s collective heads out of the game. Another two of Toronto’s goals were scored in the infamous MLS Cup Playoff game held at Citi Field on October 19, 2019—Toronto won it with a penalty kick in the 90th minute, crushing New York’s soul and eliminating a strong team that could have won it all that year.
NYCFC have a few scores to settle.
Match: NYCFC host Toronto FC
Date and Time: Sunday, April 24, 5 pm ET
Venue: Citi Field
Stream: YES app
Listen: The game will be broadcast in both English and Spanish on NYCFC Radio
• Injury report: Maxi Moralez and Maxime Chanot are still questionable—Moralez suffered a rib fracture while training in Seattle, and Chanot is out with an eye injury suffered while on international duty with the Luxembourg national team. Defender Anton Tinnerholm is out with the Achilles injury he suffered last October. Thiago Martins left the game last week with a strained muscle, but the NYCFC medical team determined he’s available to play.
• The weather station in front of the temple to dumplings known as White Bear will read a comfortably cool 55˚F/13˚C at kickoff time.
• Going to the game? You’ll want to look at the Hudson River Blue Dining Guide to Citi Field that includes some key new additions for 2022.
• NYCFC got their groove back in last Sunday’s 6-0 romp over Real Salt Lake despite missing playmaker Moralez. NYCFC’s attack of Castellanos, Talles Magno, Thiago, Santiago Rodríguez, and newcomer Gabriel Pereira is so lethal it easily overcame RSL’s soft midfield and defense.
• Toronto won’t be as easy to push around. The club is off to a surprisingly strong start after offloading 19 players and completely rebuilding the team. They also got a new manager in Bob Bradley, and once again the veteran is proving why he’s an MLS legend: Toronto are on a four-game undefeated streak, and handed first-place Philadelphia Union their first defeat of the year last week. Toronto are now in fifth place with 11 points after seven games.
• Most of Toronto’s points were earned at BMO Field: Toronto are winless on the road, with two draws and one loss.
• Toronto will be without Jayden Nelson who was suspended after the Philadelphia game for a reckless challenge: The 19-year-old Canada international was given a yellow card during the match and was allowed to play, but later review determined it to be worthy of a one-game suspension. Funny how Toronto gets one favorable call after another at home.
• Midfield anchor Jonathan Osorio is questionable for the game after a thigh injury. Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Noble Okello, Ralph Priso are unavailable because of injuries.
• Toronto will also be without referee Drew Fischer, who will be the fourth official for the Colorado Rapids and Charlotte FC game.
• The NYCFC defense will once again have their hands full with Toronto’s Jesús Jiménez, who is proving to be one of the best signings of the offseason. The 28-year-old forward has four goals so far this year, and leads Toronto’s attack alongside 30-year-old Designated Player Alejandro Pozuelo.
• The referee will be Rubiel Vazquez, and he will be assisted by Cory Richardson and Ryan Graves. The fourth official will be Matt Thompson, the VAR referee will be Armando Villarreal. and the assistant VAR referee will be Tom Supple.
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Update: The starting lineup was released at 4:16 pm ET