It’s fair to say that NYCFC scraped through to the knockout stages in Orlando by the skin of our teeth, but the Boys in Blue had no end of motivation to make up for lost time.
Facing the side which ended NYC’s MLS Playoff campaign in heartbreaking fashion at Citi Field last October, the players on both sides had plenty of history going into the first knockout round at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Head Coach Ronny Deila will have called for a strong start from an unchanged NYCFC side from the one which defeated Miami last time out - and that’s exactly what he got.
City stormed out of the traps, fired up to send out a message after a frustraingly tough start to the MLS is Back Tournament.
Snapping into challenges with physicality, Toronto were put onto the back foot from the first whistle and fell behind with fewer than five minutes on the board.
Jesus Medina was the scorer, racing onto an Anton Tinnerholm through ball in a clever set-piece routine and thumping his volley past Quentin Westberg.
New York kept the pressure on and Alex Callens almost marked his 100th MLS appearance for the Club with a goal but his header from a corner just missed the target.
The lively Medina had another chance to score with 10 minutes of the first half remaining but this time Westberg denied the Paraguayan, racing out to block on the edge of his box.
In an otherwise perfect half, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi limped out of the game to be replaced by Maxi Moralez, on his way back from his own injury troubles.
The Argentine made his presence felt on 55’ with his 49th assist for the Boys in Blue, a casual flick over the top of the TFC defense which found Taty Castellanos.
Taty still had plenty of work to do, taking the ball out of his feet to make the space for the shot which Westberg got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
Two became three on 81’ when a sweeping counter-attack was finished off cooly by Moralez, providing a scoreline which reflected NYC’s dominance.
Toronto had the last word on 87’ through Patrick Mullins with a consolation goal from the former NYCFC forward which made it 3-1.