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Game Day Hub: NYCFC host Toronto FC at Yankee Soccer Stadium

In a battle between two teams that have trouble scoring, will the defenses decide the day?

Start 'em young | Courtesy New York City FC

It's Matchday 4, and New York City FC are in the Bronx hosting a Toronto FC that brought a little bit of that Canadian chilly air with them. They also brought some swagger: Toronto have two wins and one draw to start the season, and are among the league leaders with seven points.

In case you forgot, NYCFC have zero points after losing all three of their games so far. But maybe the two teams aren't so far apart. Toronto have scored just two goals this year, both from Lorenzo Insigne. New York City have scored just one.

Toronto also have three clean sheets: They're the only team in MLS that hasn't allowed a goal in 2024. NYCFC, on the other hand, have let in five goals. This Toronto will bank on their stingy defense again tonight — if injuries allow. Read on for more.

Game Day Essentials

• Matchday 4: NYCFC vs Toronto FC

• Date and Time: Saturday, March 16, 7:30 pm ET

• Venue: Yankee Soccer Stadium

• Forecast: Breezy, cool, 52F/11C

• Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. All games are free this weekend!

• Apple Broadcast Team: Chris Wittyngham and Lori Lindsey (English), Jesus Acosta and Carlos Suarez (Spanish)

New York City FC Radio: Glenn Crooks and Matt Lawrence (English), Roberto Abramowitz and Ariel Judas (Spanish)

• Officiating Crew: TBD

NYCFC vs Toronto H2H

25 9 7 9 41 43 -2

The head-to-head between these clubs is even after New York City's 5-0 statement win in the Leagues Cup last year, and the 3-0 win on a rainy September afternoon at Red Bull Arena. Funny what eight goals will do to a balance sheet.

High-scoring games like these aren't unusual in this rivalry. New York City have played Toronto a total of 25 times, and five of those games had five goals or more.

In addition to the 2023 Leagues Cup blowout, there was NYCFC's nervy 5-4 win at Citi Field in April of 2022, and a close 2-3 away win over Toronto in 2018. Then there was Toronto's 0-5 win in front of 28,000 people at Yankee Soccer Stadium in 2016, and the 4-4 draw back in 2015 that saw David Villa's two goals erased by a Sebastian Giovinco hat trick.

The 84 combined goals scored by these two teams works out to an average of 3.36 goals per game. We'll see if two teams that are having trouble scoring in 2024 can find a way to beat that over/under today.

New York City

  • Player availability: Midfielder Maxi Moralez (ACL) is still recovering and remains unavailable. Defender Rio Hope-Gund (abdomen) and forward Talles Magno (knee) are also sidelined.
  • Midfielder James Sands returns to the lineup card after serving a one-game suspension after receiving a red card on Matchday 2.
  • How will Nick Cushing line his team up to earn their first point(s) of 2024? New York City's head coach said James Sands was missed vs. Portland, but how will the American midfielder fit back in vs. Toronto? Will any recent signings—Jovan Mijatović, Agustín Ojeda, or Strahinja Tanasijević—make their first starts for the club?
  • History New York City will be hoping to avoid in home match two: The club has only lost consecutive home matches four times in its history, most recently May 27 and May 31, 2023 (vs. Philadelphia Union, vs. FC Cincinnati).


  • Player availability: Goalkeeper and former New York City captain Sean Johnson (hamstring) remains sidelined after injuring himself in warmups last week. In addition, defender Nicksoen Gomis (wrist), forward Deandre Kerr (calf), right-back Richie Laryea (hamstring), midfielder Jonathan Osorio (hip), and midfielder Brandon Servant (knee) are unavailable. Midfielder Deybi Flores (groin), defender Kevin Long (foot), and defender Raoul Petretta (groin) are questionable.
  • A Toronto that managed only one goal in the final three games of 2023 has scored exactly two goals in the first three games of 2024. But this Toronto have seven points from those two goals, while last year's model took just one. Chalk up the difference to the defense: This Toronto have yet to allow a goal in 2024.
  • Both of those Toronto goals were scored by Insigne — he's now logging one goal every 97 minutes. The former Napoli superstar scored just four goals in all of 2023 — that works out to one goal every 381 minutes.
  • Looking for more intel on Toronto? Tom Nightingale of Waking the Red tells it all in Oppo Research: 5 Things about Toronto FC.