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Toronto FC
Major League Soccer
Apr 30, 2023 at 12.30am UK
BMO Field
New York City

1 - 0
NY City

Sapong (46')
Laryea (65'), Hedges (72'), Johnson (80')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Parks (54')

Preview: Toronto vs. New York City FC - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Major League Soccer clash between Toronto and New York City FC, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

New York City FC will make the short trip up north to BMO Field this Saturday when they battle Toronto on matchday 10 of the Major League Soccer campaign.

The Reds' seven-match unbeaten run ended last weekend when they lost 4-2 to the Philadelphia Union, while New York have points in four straight MLS affairs after defeating Dallas 3-1.

Match preview

Toronto FC forward Federico Bernardeschi (10) and forward Ayo Akinola (20) congratulate midfielder Michael Bradley (4) on his goal on April 2, 2023© Reuters

Bob Bradley called his team's draw versus Atlanta United a step in the right direction, but last Saturday, they took a big step backwards.

Defensively, this group looked as shaky as we have seen all year, as they struggled to handle the Philly press, while they also lacked intensity and were second to most balls, according to their coach.

Saturday will be the first of three matches for them in all competitions on home soil, where the Reds are unbeaten to this point of the season.

We have talked at length about their inability to close out a match when leading, but they have struggled just as badly when facing a second-half deficit, without a point when trailing at the interval in five successive league fixtures dating back to August 2022.

While the last game may have been their poorest performance of the campaign, the Reds are still very much in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, just a point back of a wildcard spot after nine matches.

They come into this encounter unbeaten at home versus the Pigeons since 2020, winning the last home matchup against them, 2-1 in 2022.

New York City FC forward Talles Magno (43) celebrates with New York City FC midfielder Gabriel Pereira (11) on April 9, 2023© Reuters

Two weeks after drawing Atlanta United 1-1 in a match that manager Nick Cushing called a missed opportunity, these players have been a lot better at taking the chances presented to them.

The Boys in Blue wrapped up a three-game homestand in impressive fashion, with victories over Nashville SC (2-1) and Dallas, vaulting them up to fourth in the Eastern Conference, five points behind FC Cincinnati and the New England Revolution for first.

Only nine games into the season, it is difficult to tell if they have found a genuine number nine, but while replacing Valentin Castellanos will not be easy, at the moment, NYCFC are finding the back of the net by committee, with six different players scoring at least once and seven with at least one goal involvement.

Finding an early breakthrough has been vital to their success of late, with the Pigeons going in front at the interval in back-to-back contests, claiming at least a point in eight successive regular-season affairs when leading at the half, a streak which dates back to 2022, with seven of those contests being wins.

So far in 2023, however, New York have conceded first in three of their four regular-season away fixtures, claiming a mere three points in their last 15 road games (not including the playoffs) when going down 1-0, a run that dates back to 2021 after they came back to beat FC Cincinnati 2-1 in September of that year.

Saturday will be their first trip to Canada in 2023, with the Boys in Blue going winless in five successive regular season visits to the Great White North.

Toronto Major League Soccer form:

New York City FC Major League Soccer form:

Team News

Toronto FC head coach Bob Bradley looks on before the game between the Atlanta United and the Toronto FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on March 4, 2023© Reuters

Victor Vazquez, Adama Diomande and Michael Bradley missed the previous match for TFC with lower-body issues, and all three are questionable this weekend, Matt Hedges sat out of that encounter because of concussion protocol, while Cristian Gutierrez was missing due to an illness, Federico Bernardeschi also has a problem in his lower body putting his status for Saturday in question and Jonathan Osorio is not available for the same reason.

Earlier this week they added some veteran leadership to the attack, acquiring CJ Sapong from Nashville SC in exchange for Lukas MacNaughton and up to $200,000 (£160,354) in General Allocation Money (GAM), while they also traded for centre-back Aime Mabika, giving up as much as $200,000 (£160,354) in GAM to Inter Miami for his services.

Sean Johnson is unbeaten in four starts this season at BMO Field as he prepares to play his former club on Saturday, earning 206 caps previously with NYCFC, claiming the MLS Cup MVP award when they won it all in 2021.

Richie Laryea has goals in back-to-back contests for the Reds, his first two of the year, with Lorenzo Insigne notching his first of the season in the loss to the Union.

Cushing made one change to his starting 11 last weekend from the side that defeated Nashville, with Gabriel Pereira drawing into the lineup instead of Gabriel Segal, though Pereira has been ruled out of this match with what Cushing is calling a lower body injury.

The club also made a deal ahead of the transfer deadline, sending Malte Amundsen to the Columbus Crew in exchange for $500,000 (£400,885) in GAM.

Santiago Rodriguez notched a brace in their triumph versus Dallas, with the other one coming courtesy of Talles Magno, while James Sands returned from his call-up with the US national team as he, Richard Ledezma and Keaton Parks began in the midfield for a second successive fixture.

An own-goal from Thiago Martins sent the Pigeons to defeat in this exact fixture last season, while Pereira, Parks, Rodriguez, along with their ex-strikers Thiago Andrade and Castellanos all found the back of the net the last time they faced TFC, coming back from 2-0 down to win a wild one 5-4 at Citi Field last April.

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Johnson; Laryea, O'Neill, Rosted, Petretta; Servania, Thompson, Kaye, Marshall-Rutty; Kerr, Insigne

New York City FC possible starting lineup:
Barraza; Ilenic, Martins, Chanot, Cufre; Ledezma, Sands, Parks; O'Toole, Segal, Magno

SM words green background

We say: Toronto 2-1 New York City FC

Sean Johnson has been an elite shot-stopper in this league for quite some time and has proven he can steal a game on his own.

Given the Reds' significant injury concerns, we expect the ex-NYCFC keeper to take his game to a level we have come to expect this weekend, while getting his new team back in the win column.

How to watch

You can watch Toronto vs. New York City FC and every MLS match this season live on Apple TV. Click here for more details on how to subscribe.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
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Eastern Conference

1Inter MiamiInter Miami1594236201631
2FC CincinnatiCincinnati159421911831
3New York City FCNY City157351816224
4New York Red BullsNY Red Bulls146532521423
6Columbus Crew145721913622
7Charlotte FCCharlotte FC156451413122
8Philadelphia UnionPhiladelphia144642521418
9DC United154652024-418
10Orlando City144551520-517
11Nashville SCNashville143741720-316
12Atlanta UnitedAtlanta143561716114
13CF MontrealMontreal143471731-1413
14Chicago Fire152581326-1311
15New England RevolutionNew England13229925-168

Western Conference

1Real Salt LakeSalt Lake1484227141328
2Minnesota UnitedMinnesota Utd127322114724
3Los Angeles FCLos Angeles146442419522
4Los Angeles GalaxyLA Galaxy145722521422
5Austin FCAustin146441917222
6Colorado RapidsColorado146352423121
7Vancouver WhitecapsVancouver135441915419
8Houston DynamoHouston135351213-118
9St Louis City133731920-116
10Seattle SoundersSeattle143561617-114
11Portland TimbersPortland143472629-313
13Sporting Kansas CityKansas132562124-311
14San Jose EarthquakesEarthquakes1431102233-1110

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