3 things we learned during NYCFC’s close 3-2 road win over Toronto FC

  • NYCFC and Toronto FC played one another for the second time this season
  • The Pigeons came out on top with a 3-2 win
  • Here are three things we learned from the game
NYCFC / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC were the underdogs coming into the match against Toronto FC, for they were without a road victory entering the game. With a slight change in the lineup, the Boys in Blue were able to pull off the win in what was an entertaining match. It looks like a new rivalry is brewing between Toronto and NYCFC, especially over the recent seasons.  

This was also a much-needed win as NYCFC prepares for a trip to Philadelphia. The biggest change was that Nick Cushing chose not to have Mounsef Bakrar travel with the team to Toronto, as he was not listed on the bench nor on the injured list. He continues to struggle to produce for the team as the head coach decided to put Alonso Martínez as a striker.  

With Joe Tolleson back in the booth and a brawl at the end of the match, here are three things we learned from the 3-2 win to Toronto.   

3 things we learned from the road win in Toronto

1. Malachi Jones scores during his first MLS start 

Malachi Jones got the call to start Saturday after Cushing decided to leave Bakrar off the team sheet while putting Martínez at striker as he gave the shot to the young midfielder. He did not disappoint at all as he scored the first MLS goal. Jones was only playing college ball six months ago with Lipscomb University, while also playing semi-professional soccer with Tennessee SC.   

His speed and skills have drawn the eye of the coaching staff, giving him a sufficient amount of minutes on the pitch this season. Against Toronto, he won eight duels while taking two shots, both on target.

2. NYCFC will use this road win as an example for the rest of the season

It is no secret that NYCFC struggles to win games away from home, especially because of the dimensions of the field they play on. They faced a hard challenge coming into Saturday’s match, having to deal with the lethal attack of Toronto. However, NYCFC did their best to shut them down while their offense put up the goals needed to take the win.

They did play a more defensive match, only possessing the ball 43.7 percent of the time. However, this tactic worked in their favor. The Pigeons can enter Wednesday’s match against the Philadelphia Union with more confidence, knowing that winning away from the Big Apple is not impossible.   

3. Fines and suspension are likely to arise following the post-match brawl

There were ugly scenes after the match as NYCFC and Toronto entered a heated argument, which resulted in a brawl between the players and coaches. According to Toronto FC's Jonathan Osorio and head coach John Herdman, the fight broke out over what happened at halftime back in March, where Cushing allegedly punched one of their 19-year-old players.   

However, with no video evidence of this and Cushing denying the action, the investigation is ongoing. There was also an incident where former NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson went after Strahinja Tanasijević after he was thought to have said something. Nothing is confirmed at this time though. They were also seen headbutting each other and were forced to be separated by the players and coaching staff, and it might have been the center-back's actions toward the goalkeeper that caused the clash.

MLS is likely to launch an investigation into the matter as more information is set to be present in the next few days. There should not be a surprise if fans see fines and suspensions handed to some of the players and coaches.