NYCFC 1 – 2 Toronto FC

As soccer history is the US is now being built, a few pages in the MLS history book will be saved for the NYCFC-Toronto FC relationship. For now, it’s a very abusive one, with New York being the victim, over and over again.

Back in the 2016 MLS Audi Cup Playoffs, Toronto destroyed NYC with a 7-0 win on aggregate (winning 2-0 at home, followed by humiliating NYCFC with a 5-0 win at Yankee Stadium).

In 2019 things didn’t change much, when in back in March Toronto handed New York a 4-0 away defeat at BMO Field, and the best NYCFC could reply with was a 1-1 home draw in Yankee Stadium.
And in the same fashion, things just didn’t work out for New York City FC yesterday. NYCFC were considered the favorites to win last night and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.

But despite of home crowed, coming fresh from a bye week, and being the number one seed (compared to Toronto being number four), the sky blue hosts just couldn’t get it going, and were cruelly knocked out of the playoffs by the visitors in red, once again.

Although the hosts had better overall possession (+9.2%), more shots (17 vs. Toronto’s 9), better passing accuracy and more crosses (23 vs. Toronto’s 0), the visitors in red somehow managed to dominate the first half, and overall look like the better side of this game.  Although Toronto dominated the first half, NYCFC’s Sean Johnson made four fantastic saves and managed to keep a clean sheet until halftime.

NYCFC 1-2 Toronto FC
Alejandro Pozuelo, left, scored twice as Toronto knocks NYC out of the 2019 Playoffs; Photo Credit: Brad Penner/USA Today Sports

Toronto got their break coming back from halftime, with some very miserable header competition by the New York players in their own box. Eventually New York’s Maxime Chanot’s header was taken by Toronto’s Alejandro Pozuelo, who lowered it to the ground and kicked to score the first goal of the match (47’).  NYCFC did manage to tie, with Ismael Tajouri-Shradi running wisely into the box towards a cross from Maxi Moralez and scoring (69’).

But the hosts playoff hopes went down in flames, with NYC’s Ronald Matarrita taking down Toronto’s Richie Laryea at the right edge of the box. A late penalty was awarded to the reds, and Alejandro Puzuelo converted it to a late win for Toronto FC (90’).

Toronto will next face Atlanta FC in the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday, October 31st.