MLS Playoffs – Toronto FC v New York City FC Preview (30/10/16)

Toronto FC preview

Finally, after years of trying, the Canadian outfit won a playoff game in midweek beating Philly 3-1. Tronto were impressive and fully deserved their success, possibly should've won by a bigger margin too. But let’s not forget that they faced a Union side who have really struggled recently and who came into the playoffs with much more momentum. This clash against NYCFC and any subsequent opponents will be far more difficult. Manager Greg Vanney gambled by employing a 3-5-2 wingbacks system which worked well for them in their last regular season game against Chicago Fire. I don’t think he’ll change anything here, unless he feels the need for a more solid midfield which would include Will Johnson. Toronto must be feeling really good about themselves and this tie against NYC looks set to be an absolute cracker. TFC have some great attacking players like Giovinco & Altidore and will believe they can outscore any opponent.

New York City FC preview

In just their second season in MLS, NYC clinched second spot and will be making their playoff debut. Expectations were high in the big apple for Patrick Vieira this year. I think it’s fair to say he’s delivered in some capacity, but certainly not all. Victory in the MLS Cup would go a long way to satisfying everyone though. Despite this being their debut in the playoffs, NYC can boast wealth of experience. David Villa & Andrea Pirlo have both won World Cups and various other trophies, whilst Frank Lampard needs no second introduction. The key will definitely be how everyone else copes in the heat of battle when the pressure is really on. This tie against TFC feels like it should be a real feast of goals. City will want to score at least once in this first leg and grab that vital away goal. Injury news is favourable ahead of the contest and Lampard should be fit to start.

Conclusion & betting analysis

Surprisingly, Toronto FC are 1.75 favourites here on a -0.5 Asian handicap. I think this is far too short and there’s no way I could go near them at that price. New York City have had a full week of rest, possess some quality stars like David Villa, Pirlo & Lampard and also have the best MLS away record in the regular season. I think the visitors deserve more respect, although I do have a feeling Toronto will edge this contest. The way both teams usually play we should be in for a really exciting match, full of goals. Both managers have talked about the need to defend well, but I’ll believe that when I see it, and the main strength of each outfit is in attack. There should be chances galore and I’m really surprised that an over 3 goal line can be backed as big as evens. This looks a really big price and I can only presume it’s been inflated due to the fact this is a playoff match. Perhaps there might be slightly more chance of a tense encounter but there’s so much attacking quality on show I struggle to see how there isn’t at least three goals in the game. This is a clear over match in my opinion and I have no hesitation in pulling the trigger.

Prediction: 3-2

Recommended bet 1 unit: Over 3 goals @ 2.0