Toronto FC v New York City FC: Preview and prediction
New York City FC centre-back Thiago Martins accepts his side must improve their away form, starting with this weekend's trip to Eastern Conference rivals Toronto FC.
City enter Saturday's contest at BMO Field sitting fourth in the East following back-to-back home victories against Nashville SC and FC Dallas.
Nick Cushing's side are unbeaten in nine home league games stretching back into last season, but they have taken just two points from a possible 12 on their travels this term.
With a run of four successive road games to come, Martins is eager for NYCFC to get off the mark with their first away victory.
"It's not easy, but we need to impose ourselves away from home," he said. "We know away from home they press higher, they have the atmosphere, the stadium, the fans.
"We need to be brave and play the same way we play when we play with our fans in our stadium.
"We played very well last week, but if you want to be a good team, a top team, we need to play like last week away from home. It's difficult, but we need to impose ourselves."
Toronto are six points worse off than NYCFC after winning just one of their opening nine matches, with a league-high six of those games finishing all square.
The Canadian club's seven-game unbeaten run was ended by the Philadelphia Union last week, but midfielder Jonathan Osorio hopes the visit of NYCFC can prove a turning point.
"We're trying to figure it out," he said. "This season has been a weird one to really put your finger on. We're just trying to figure out how we can take the next step.
"The guys are together, speaking, letting their opinions out and seeing where we can move forward and get better. The guys in the locker room care.
"We'll be working really hard this week to figure it out and put it all together to put in a much better performance on Saturday in front of our home crowd."
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Toronto FC – Jonathan Osorio
Osorio assisted both of Toronto's goals in last week's loss in Philadelphia, though those goals from Lorenzo Insigne and Richie Laryea came after the Reds had fallen 4-0 behind.
He completed 105 passes in that match, making him the only player since such data was first recorded in 2010 to complete at least 100 passes and assist multiple goals in an MLS game.
New York City FC – Santiago Rodriguez
Rodriguez notched his second and third MLS goals of the season in last week's victory against FC Dallas to move within one goal of his career-best tally from 2022.
It marked the first time the 23-year-old had scored more than once in a single MLS match, having netted just twice in his past 17 games in the competition (including playoffs).
MATCH PREDICTION – NYCFC WIN
NYCFC have won just two of their past 10 away matches, compared to eight victories in their past 10 at home.
Toronto are unbeaten in four successive games at BMO Field, meanwhile, and have lost there just twice in their past 11 outings.
But City have lost just five of their 18 regular-season games against Toronto, including only one of the past five, and will see this as a good chance to pick up a rare road win.
OPTA WIN PROBABILITY
Toronto FC – 31.5 per cent
New York City FC – 39.9 per cent
Draw – 28.6 per cent