New York City FC vs Toronto FC: NYCFC face uphill battle in the 2nd leg

Toronto's 2-0 win in the first meeting provides a tough test for the home side.

New York City FC vs Toronto FC: NYCFC face uphill battle in the 2nd leg
Tempers flared in the first leg between the two sides. (Source: VAVEL USA)

Yankee Stadium plays host to it's first ever MLS playoff game and the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday afternoon as New York City FC aim to turnaround the 2-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of Toronto FC in the first leg.

Patrick Vieira's men will have their work cut out for them as they hope to progress to the Eastern Conference Finals in their first ever playoff appearance but Toronto FC have other ideas.

Team News

New York City FC: The big news for New York City is Andrea Pirlo, who missed the 2-0 defeat in Toronto, could return to the side after dealing with a hamstring injury. The former-Italy international will be key for Vieira's side and New York City will need all hands on deck in order to turn around their fortunes in the second leg.

Josh Saunders, the veteran goalkeeper, was on the bench for the first game as Eirik Johansen started in goal but Saunders could find his name in the starting lineup on Sunday as Vieira may need his experience.

Projected XI: Saunders; Iraola, Chanot, Brillant; Bravo, Lampard, Pirlo, Allen, Matarrita; David Villa, Harrison, Shelton.

Toronto FC: Toronto head into Sunday's match with a 2-0 win under their belts and some breathing space but going into Yankee Stadium, they can't afford to get complacement. Toronto's injury report is empty apart from Steven Beitashour who has missed practice leading up to Sunday's match but there's been no word on if he'll miss out.

The away side will look to their stars in Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore to close out the second leg and send them to their first ever Eastern Conference Finals.

Projected XI: Irwin; Moor, Zavaleta, Hagglund; Cooper, Osorio, Bradley, Morrow, Beitashour; Altidore, Giovinco.

Background

The first leg between the two teams was fairly even up until the 84th minute when Jozy Altidore netted the winner before substitute Tosaint Ricketts tapped in Toronto's second of the night. Tempers flared more than once throughout the game, setting up what could be a feisty affair at Yankee Stadium.

Toronto have beaten New York City just once in their six meetings, with NYCFC winning twice. 

Players to Watch

New York City FC: Frank Lampard: The former-Chelsea man played just 29 mins in the first leg but should feature plenty if NYCFC hope to progress. The midfielder has been great for New York City this season and could be the key to the home side winning the midfield battle on Sunday.

Toronto FC: Michael Bradley: Toronto's captain will be called upon to deliver on Sunday against NYCFC's talented midfield and Bradley should be up to the task. The 29-year old's role in defending the 2-0 lead is more important than ever and his performance his crucial to whether or not Toronto can hold on.