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NYCFC Beat Toronto FC At Yankee Stadium

New York City FC recorded a fantastic 2-1 win against Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. A 7th minute goal from Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty opened the scoring, before Santiago Rodríguez leveled things up in the 24th minute with a sensational freekick. City would find the game-winning goal in the 64th minute thanks to Kevin O’Toole’s first for the Club. 

Kevin O’Toole celebrates his goal for NYCFC against Toronto FC

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New York City FC took on Toronto FC on a brisk evening in the Bronx, with both teams eager to secure all three points. 

The Reds arrived in the Five Boroughs having not conceded a goal in MLS this season, a run of form that helped guide them to two wins and a draw in three outings. 

Head Coach Nick Cushing made two changes to the side that took on the Portland Timbers last time out with James Sands and Julián Fernández replacing Andrés Perea and Andres Jasson. 

First Half

City wasted no time attacking TFC’s goal, with their first chance coming inside five minutes after neat interplay down the right allowed Mitja Ilenič to burst forward and put in a low cross. Sprinting to connect with the ball was Fernández, but his sliding effort was blocked. 

Despite that early pressure it would be Toronto that opened the scoring in the 7th minute after Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty latched onto a long ball in behind and rounded Matt Freese to score from a narrow angle. 

New York City were quick to respond with a long ball of their own which found Ilenič in space. The defender was proving a threat early on and it was his pass inside that found Mounsef Bakrar, but the striker was unable to convert. 

City would come even closer to equalizing in the 18th minute after a drilled pass by Thiago Martins put Santiago Rodríguez through on goal. The Uruguayan attempted to round the goalkeeper and tap home, but he unfortunately put his shot wide. 

Momentum was now firmly with the hosts and in the 24th minute they converted that into an equalizer, thanks to a wonderful freekick by Rodríguez. The forward wrapped his foot around the ball from 25-yards out and saw his effort fly past goalkeeper Luka Gavran and into the top left corner. 

Several half chances followed for City before they were handed a great opportunity to take the lead on the stroke of half time. Facilitated by wonderful play on the left involving Rodríguez and Hannes Wolf, it would be the latter that pulled the ball back to Keaton Parks in space, but his shot was straight at the goalkeeper. 

James Sands playing for nycfc against toronto fc at yankee stadium
James Sands collides with Toronto forward Federico Bernardeschi during the second half at Yankee Stadium. Photo by Mark Smith - USA TODAY Sports

Second Half

The second half brought no changes for Cushing’s men, but a renewed sense of determination to grab the next goal. They almost achieved that early into the second period when Wolf found himself free on the left and played a cute reverse ball to Bakrar, but his strike was well saved by Gavran.

City would eventually take the lead in the 64th minute thanks to Kevin O’Toole’s first goal for the Club. A combination play between Fernández and O’Toole, it was the winger’s wonderful outside of the boot cross from the right that allowed the defender to head home and send the Yankee Stadium delirious. 

That joy would quickly be replaced by disappointment, however, as New York City were reduced to ten men in the 68th minute after Parks was found guilty of serious foul play by VAR. In the wake of that decision, Cushing opted to introduce Perea in place of Fernández. 

Toronto made several tactical tweaks of their own in search of an equalizer and in the 81st Ayo Akinola came close, but he could not find the target. Cushing responded with a second change of the night as Wolf was replaced by Tayvon Gray. 

With injury time approaching Bakrar departed the game in place of Justin Haak. The Algerian produced a tireless performance on the night, defending from the front even after his side went down to ten men. 

In the end, Akinola’s misplaced shot would prove to be the final chance of note – a valiant defensive display from City in the final portion of the game duly rewarded with a 2-1 victory. 

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Next Game

New York City FC face fellow Eastern Conference side Cincinnati FC on Saturday, March 23 at 7:30pm ET at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio. Broadcast: Apple TV | Radio:  

Keaton Parks playing for nycfc against Toronto fc at yankee stadium
Keaton Parks appeals to the ref during the second half. Photo by Vincent Carchietta - USA TODAY Sports
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