With the first-leg behind them, New York City FC must focus all of their energy on advancing to the conference finals in the club’s first playoff appearance.
NYCFC must bounce back against Toronto FC, who took a 2-0 lead at home last Sunday. Yankee Stadium is expected to be packed with supporters who want to see City move forward.
The club has been shutout three times at home in MLS play, via two losses and a scoreless draw during the first three months of the season.
City won four times at home by at least two goals this season, indicating NYCFC can overcome the aggregate and move on. Here are three keys that can help the club against TFC.
Viva la ‘Maravilla’
David Villa finished second in the Golden Boot race with 23 goals. He is no stranger to playing in the spotlight, winning various championships in his career with clubs like FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and 2010 World Cup winner Spain.
El Guaje played 78 minutes in the first-leg, so expect him to be fresh and ready to score Sunday.
NYCFC committed a season-high 19 fouls in the first-leg against Toronto. They received five yellow cards for their actions, which could be dangerous in the long-term.
If they advance, they do not get the disciplinary actions removed until the MLS Cup Final. They must be cautious in the game, keeping in mind they are down on the aggregate.
Who’s in net?
Head coach Patrick Vieira chose to start keeper Eirik Johansen over Josh Saunders, who gave up three goals in his last start on Oct. 16, in net against Game 1. It was a move that baffled many, as everyone expected to see the three-time MLS Cup winner get the start.
Vieira has yet to announce who will be the keeper for the second-leg, a decision critical to NYCFC’s playoff hopes.