The loss officially eliminated Toronto (4-16-10) from playoff contention, although any such hope had disappeared months ago. TFC has failed to make the playoffs the last three years after making the MLS Cup final three times between 2016 and 2019, lifting the trophy in 2017.
Andrés Perea opened the scoring in the 18th minute for New York, which had a penalty saved by Toronto ‘keeper Luka Gavran in his MLS debut. Andres Jasson doubled the lead in first-half stoppage time and Julián Fernández upped the lead to 3-0 in the 54th.
New York could have added to its lead but was wasteful at times with Gavran stepping up on others.
The win moved New York (8-10-13) above the playoff line in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of D.C. United. Toronto remains mired in 15th and last place.
NYCFC is now unbeaten in its last five games (3-0-2) after winning just two of its previous 21 outings (2-11-8) in all competitions. That slide started with a 1-0 loss in Toronto on April 29.
The game was originally scheduled for Saturday evening but was pushed back a day because of a water main break at the Red Bull Arena. NYCFC normally plays at Yankee Stadium but has to shift operations when the baseball team is in town.
The Yankees were also forced to postpone their game Saturday game with the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks, citing “the forecast of sustained inclement weather” due to Tropical Storm Ophelia. The baseball game was rescheduled for Monday at Yankee Stadium.
Toronto has had little luck of late at Red Bull Arena, thumped 5-0 there in July by NYCFC in Leagues Cup play in July.
Coming off a 4-0 midweek loss at Inter Miami, Toronto has won just one of its last 17 games (1-13-3) in all competitions.
Toronto is now winless in 19 straight road games (0-15-4) in all competitions. Its last away goal was scored by Deandre Kerr in a 2-1 loss June 24 at the New England Revolution.
TFC has been outscored 19-0 in the six road matches since, a goalless drought away from home that stretches 619 minutes.
TFC is the only team in the league yet to win on the road this season (0-11-4). Its last win away from BMO Field was Aug. 27, 2022, in Charlotte.
NYCFC struck quickly in the rain, with Toronto’s defence found wanting after Talles Magno pounced on a poor pass by Toronto midfielder Alonso Coello. The Brazilian found Uruguayan designated player Santi Rodriguez, whose cross was headed home by Perea in the second minute.
Gavran was left rooted to the spot as the NYCFC attackers were allowed to operate in space.
It was the first goal in NYCFC colours for Perea, a U.S. international midfielder who is on loan from the Philadelphia Union.
Video review triggered a New York penalty when Toronto centre back Shane O’Neill, who was falling at the time, was called for handball in blocking a shot by Algerian forward Mounsef Bakrar. But the six-foot-six Gavran got a foot to Bakrar’s 39th-minute penalty attempt.
Jasson made it 2-0 in first-half stoppage time, pivoting to fire a low shot into the corner of the goal for his third of the season. Toronto had six players plus Gavran in the penalty box but was unable to close down the NYCFC attackers.
Themi Antonoglou replaced Toronto fullback Raoul Petretta at halftime and was victimized nine minutes later when Fernández outpaced him before finding the corner for his first MLS goal.
Jonathan Osorio managed Toronto’s first shot on target in the 38th minute but the ball went right at goalkeeper Matt Freese. The NYCFC goalkeeper was called into action in the 70th minute, parrying a hard shot from Antonoglou.
Toronto now has four regular-season games remaining. Former Canada coach John Herdman, who takes over the team on Oct. 1, will be in charge for the final three.
Italian star Lorenzo Insigne, listed as questionable with a lower body injury, did not dress. A team spokeswoman said the former Napoli captain was being held out as a precaution after feeling soreness/tightness following the midweek 4-0 loss at Inter Miami.
Captain Michael Bradley returned to his accustomed midfield position with O’Neill slotting into centre back.
Gavran, Toronto’s second-round pick (31st overall) in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, started in goal with Tomas Romero on the bench, Romero has been filling in with starter Sean Johnson and Greg Ranjitsingh both out injured but interim coach Terry Dunfield had said he was considering giving the 23-year-old from Hamilton a chance.
Toronto midfielder Brandon Servania, who left the loss to Miami with a lower body injury, did not dress.
NYCFC was without injured midfielders Maxi Moralez, Alfredo Morales and Keaton Parks and the suspended Richard Ledezma.
Champion in 2021, NYCFC has struggled this year after the departure of top talent like Taty Castellanos, Nicolas Acevedo, Alexander Callens, Anton Tinnerholm, Brazil’s Heber and goalkeeper Johnson (who signed with Toronto as a free agent).