Toronto FC Eliminated from MLS is Back Tournament after Defeat to NYCFC

Giancarlo Aulino
BarnBurner Sports Writer


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Orlando, FL--- Toronto FC were eliminated from the MLS is Back Tournament after New York City FC defeated them 3-1 to advance to the quarter-finals.

Toronto head coach Greg Vanney used a 4-3-3 formation with his starting-XI; Quentin Westberg starting in-goal; Auro Jr., Omar Gonzalez, Chris Mavinga, and Richie Laryea on the backline; Nick DeLeon, Marky Delgado, and captain Michael Bradley in the midfield; and  Alejandro Pozuelo, Pablo Piatti, and the debuting Jayden Nelson as the attacking trio.

Ayo Akinola, who had scored 5 goals in the group stage, was ruled out of tonight’s match due to hamstring discomfort. As a result, 17-year old academy product Jayden Nelson was inserted into the starting-XI. Prior to joining Toronto FC’s senior squad, Nelson excelled at the youth level, which culminated with him being named the 2019 Canadian Youth International Player of the Year. This was a massive opportunity for Nelson, who was signed as a homegrown player back in January. Much like Akinola, Nelson was given an opportunity to play significant minutes and potentially become the difference maker for Toronto.

It was not the ideal start for Toronto FC; some sloppy passing in their half led to a scoring opportunity for New York City FC off the counterattack. It would go from bad to worse as NYCFC would get on the scoresheet in the fifth minute, following a set piece play that lead to Jesus Medina receiving the ball in Toronto’s box and striking it past Westberg, to give his team the 1-0 lead.

New York City added to their lead in the 55th minute when Valentin Castellanos used his pace to get past Toronto defender Omar Gonzalez and struck a powerful shot that beat Westberg and put NYCFC up 2-0.

In an attempt to get Toronto back in the game, Vanney subbed on Jozy Altidore, Erickson Gallardo, and Jonathan Osorio, who made his first appearance in the MLS is Back Tournament. The substitution did not work out as planned; Toronto were still unable to find their rhythm offensively and could not match New York’s pace on the counterattack.

Just when it looked as though Toronto were getting closer to scoring a goal, New York City’s Maxi Moralez secured a three goal cushion after a cross pass left him in a one-on-one with Westberg, where he struck a nicely placed shot in the back of the net.

Toronto substitute Patrick Mullins scored in the 87th minute to make it 3-1, however, it was too late as New York City were victorious. NYCFC will not be in action until Saturday, when they will play against the winner of Tuesday’s match between FC Cincinnati and the Portland Timbers in the quarter-finals of the MLS is Back Tournament.





Photo Credit: Toronto FC