New York City FC continues their 2023 Leagues Cup campaign with a “home” matchup at Red Bull Arena against Toronto FC on Wednesday, July 26. This NYCFC vs Toronto game is between two teams team that are having poor seasons, making the contest an even match: In this edition of Oppo Research, we look at a Toronto side that is struggling this year – especially offensively – but who have a history of giving New York City a tough time.
1. Toronto are on a six-game losing streak
Toronto arrives in New Jersey after losing their last six matches. To make matters worse, the team has not won since May 27 — even a struggling NYCFC managed to win a game at the start of this month. Toronto’s problems run deep: They last made the playoffs in 2020, and interim head coach Terry Dunfield, who replaced Bob Bradley last month, doesn’t look like he’ll turn things around this season.
2. Toronto have a goal-scoring problem
Just like New York City, Toronto can’t find the back of the net this season. Toronto have been shut out in their last four games, and look absolutely lost in attack. The team lost last season’s leading goal scorer, Jesús Jimenez, to FC Dallas this past winter. Since then, CJ Sapong and Ayo Akionla haven’t added anything to a lackluster Toronto offense.
3. Watch out for Federico Bernardeschi
Toronto’s biggest threat is Italian winger Federico Bernardeschi. The former Juventus star has provided something of a spark for Toronto this season: Bernardeschi has scored three goals and provided four assists in 21 MLS starts. An example of Bernardeschi’s individual brilliance can be seen in his goal against Charlotte FC on Matchday Six — it takes a special player to pull off a perfectly-placed Olímpico:
4. Bad on the road
Although Wednesday’s game at Red Bull Arena is marginally a home game for NYCFC, it is definitely an away game for Toronto. This is a team that simply can’t get results on the road: Toronto have only four points in 12 away matches, and have yet to log a win when not at BMO Field. Their abysmal road record is tied with Inter Miami for the worst in MLS.
5. Toronto are plagued with injuries
Another problem for this hard-luck Toronto: Injuries.
In the game against Chicago Fire on July 15, four Toronto players were ruled out and five players were listed as questionable — including Lorenzo Insigne. New York City will like their chances if Michael Bradley and Insigne are on the injured list as expected.