NYCFC vs Toronto FC preview: A must-win in the Leagues Cup

-NYCFC will face Toronto FC in the next game of the Leagues Cup

-If the Pigeons earn one or zero points, then they will be out of the tournament

-Here is a preview of the upcoming match

NYCFC / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, New York City FC opened up the team’s Leagues Cup journey against Atlas F.C. in Queens.  Despite playing well, the lack of scoring and the treacherous VAR decision led to the 1-0 loss. 

Consequently, NYCFC now enters the second and final match of the group round with their backs against the wall.  They will play Toronto FC, and winning is the only option.  While the top two teams in the group of three will move on, earning one or no points will lead to the Pigeons’ exit.  This is the case because the Leagues Cup has all draws end in penalty kick shootouts, and the winner of the shootout will earn two points, while the losing team will earn one.

If there is one positive, then it is that Mounsef Bakrar is available, and he made a brief appearance against Atlas.  His little cameo toward the end of the match showed glimpses of what he can do as a striker.  Yes, sadly Gabriel Pereira is no longer here, but the new signing might be the knight in shining armor.  Plus, Toronto is also struggling this season, so maybe this might be the game that can end in all three points.

So, let’s take a look at the upcoming Leagues Cup game between NYCFC and Toronto.

When is the match between New York City FC and Toronto FC?

The match will take place on Wednesday, July 26, at 7:30 PM.

Where is the NYCFC game?

The game will take place in Harrison, NJ at Red Bull Arena.

Where can fans watch the NYCFC game?

Fans can catch NYCFC on Apple TV via the MLS Season Pass.  This game will be available for free. 

What can New York City FC expect from Toronto?

New York City FC can expect a struggling Toronto team.  The Canadian side sits in 14th place in the Eastern Conference table, and has managed just three wins in Major League Soccer.  Although, it should be noted that one of those wins came against the Pigeons back in April.  In that fixture, NYCFC lost, 1-0, after a terrible performance on the pitch.

Still, things have not gone well for Toronto.  The team is currently on a six-game losing streak and no one has scored in the last four matches.  More importantly, the Italian stars, Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi, have not been the impact players that they were brought over to be. In fact, Insigne will miss the upcoming battle between the two MLS sides. 

Alas, NYCFC knows they have lost or tied against teams they should have beaten.  The difference with Toronto is that the Bronx team has at least scored over their previous matches, while the Reds have struggled immensely.  Hence, the result will likely lie with whether the Pigeons can put the ball past their former captain, Sean Johnson.

Which NYCFC player should supporters watch?

The NYCFC supporters should watch Justin Haak on Wednesday.  Unfortunately, James Sands will miss the upcoming game due to a concussion.  As such, Haak is the likely choice to replace him in the Starting XI. 

The Homegrown player deserves the start too.  He has been fantastic over the last few matches he has played in.  He recently scored his first goal, almost had his second on Sunday, and has been strong defensively, regardless of whether he played as a center-back or defensive midfielder.  It will be interesting to see whether he can continue his recent form. 

What is the prediction for New York City FC?

Once again, New York City FC knows winning is the only option.  Anything less will see them without competitive fixtures for almost a month.  That is why they need to find the back of the net and continue their otherwise strong play on the pitch.

Therefore, the prediction is that NYCFC will come away with a win.  The team will dominate Toronto, and actually score more than one goal, winning 2-0.  The addition of Bakrar helps, and hopefully, he will see more minutes in his second appearance for the Pigeons.

It might be too much of a hopeful prediction, especially with the 2023 track record.  But a little TV show featuring a coach by the name of Ted Lasso stressed the importance of belief.  So, if New York City FC can believe, then that positivity can lead to three points.