|Major League Soccer|
|Home|||||Scoreboard|||||Match Schedule|||||Standings|||||Clubs|||||Transfers|||||Player Leaders|
New York City FC-Toronto FC Preview
Already undefeated through two league matches for the first time in five years, Toronto FC now will be even stronger with the highly anticipated arrival of its designated player.
Alejandro Pozuelo is set to make his debut Friday night when Toronto hosts a New York City FC club still seeking its first victory.
In a transfer deal that started to unfold back in January, Toronto finally completed the signing of Pozuelo in early March and he joined the team after finishing up the regular season with Belgian club KRC Genk two weeks ago. In 42 matches across all competitions for Genk this season, the 27-year-old Spanish playmaker had seven goals and 18 assists. For Toronto, he will fill a huge void at midfield following the offseason departures of Sebastian Giovinco and Victor Vazquez.
"I'm a football player," Pozuelo told MLSsoccer.com. "I need to show on the pitch. I don't like to speak about my qualities. I try to help the team."
He'll be joining a Toronto team that is 2-0-0 for the first time since 2014 and is trending in the right direction with Jozy Altidore getting closer to full strength.
Sidelined for months by an injured ankle, Altidore came off the bench to make his season debut in Toronto's last match in the 68th minute and scored the game winner 12 minutes later in a 3-2 win over New England on March 17.
"The group that we have now, particularly now that Jozy's back on the field and once Pozuelo arrives, I think the roster that we have right now has a tremendous amount of quality," Toronto GM Ali Curtis said.
Toronto lost both meetings with New York City last season, but NYCFC enters this one winless through three games for the first time in the club's five-year history. New York City (0-0-3), however, has certainly had its chances to notch a victory.
NYCFC coughed up a 2-0 first-half lead in drawing Orlando City 2-2 in its season opener before outshooting D.C. 21-7 and enjoying a 66-34 edge in possession percentage in its next match in what ended up being a scoreless draw. In its last game before the international break, NYCFC blew a pair of one-goal leads in a 2-all draw with Los Angeles FC on March 17.
"It always takes three to four games to get into the rhythm," captain Alexander Ring said. "We have gotten better game by game but it's disappointing to lead twice and give up points a home."
Ring gave NYCFC a 2-1 lead over LAFC in the 62nd minute with his second score of the season, while Romanian international Alexandru Mitrita tallied his first MLS goal in the 39th minute.
"It feels good for my first goal at home," Mitrita said, "but the result is not so good for us."
That certainly is an understatement when looking at NYCFC's play away from Yankee Stadium.
The club has just two road wins dating to last April (2-10-4), but one of those victories came at Toronto in August when Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored in the 88th minute in a 3-2 final.
Updated March 27, 2019