Why Kevin O'Toole will dominate this season

  • Kevin O'Toole is off to a fast start in 2024
  • The NYCFC player will dominate this season as the team's left-back
Kevin O'Toole and Mitja Ilenič of NYCFC
Kevin O'Toole and Mitja Ilenič of NYCFC / Elsa/GettyImages

Kevin O’Toole has been one of the few lights in New York City FC’s season so far. He has not only earned a spot in the Starting XI but has helped give the team their first win of the season in front of their home crowd. Entering his second full season on the senior side, O’Toole is set to have a breakout season as one of the players who have developed in the MLS youth system.  

O’Toole grew up in New Jersey and started in the New York Red Bulls organization. NYCFC selected him during the 2022 MLS Super Draft, changing to the blue side. Since playing in the USL for a few years, O’Toole already had experience playing in professional matches, therefore he started off with NYCFC II shortly after signing with the club.   

He made 10 appearances in the MLS Next Pro, recording one assist while averaging about 82 minutes of play per game. He was also called up for one U.S. Open Cup match while also starting during the Campeones Cup against Atlas F.C., seeing his first piece of hardware for the team. Little by little, O’Toole worked his way to the senior side full time for 2023.  

Kevin O'Toole has worked his way up to a starter

Despite a poor season for the team, O’Toole went from being just a bench option to winning a starting role in a matter of months. NYCFC acquired defender Braian Cufré on loan from RCD Mallorca for the season, where he saw the start at left-back for most of the season... until Nick Cushing decided to bench him for O’Toole.   

From September 20 until the rest of the year, the young NYCFC player started and played every minute for NYCFC to conclude the campaign, recording eight clearances and five attacking assists with an 80 percent pass percentage in those five games.   

With Cufré gone, the left-back spot was all for O’Toole, though there were some questions around this decision about his lack of experience in that position in the league. He quickly proved people wrong as he has been a reliable source for the team.   

Not only is he able to handle the back line well, but he can cover a ton of space on the field while also contributing offensively and defensively. He has generated a goal, has eight interceptions, and recovered the ball 17 times with two attacking assists in 2024.   

If he keeps it up, O’Toole could be an underdog player in the league after already playing higher than his expectations during his first season as a regular starter in the MLS. He has come a long way, having been dropped from the Red Bulls organization, and benched by NYCFC. He is now a priority player for the Boys in Blue in their fight for redemption this season.