Team news for New York City FC’s first-ever MLS Playoffs match is in and the lineup shows one change from the XI which started the 4-1 win over Columbus Crew SC.
Mikey Lopez comes in for Andrea Pirlo, who misses out with a tight muscle in his leg which is thought not to be serious, while Eirik Johansen makes his second MLS appearance, retaining his place after a fine performance last Sunday.
From the personnel selected, NYCFC appear to be lining up in a 4-3-3 formation with Jack Harrison and Steven Mendoza providing the width on either side of David Villa.
In defense, RJ Allen and Ronald Matarrita are the full-backs with Frederic Brillant and Maxime Chanot lining up at center back.
Lopez, Andoni Iraola and Federico Bravo are the men charged with protecting the back four and loading the bullets for the front three.
Lampard is once again among the substitutes alongside Tommy McNamara, Khiry Shelton, Diego Martinez, Jason Hernandez, Tony Taylor and Josh Saunders.
In Patrick's Words...
Vieira: “I picked the players I believe can play the way I see the game and that’s why tonight I went with Eirik. Maybe if we had a different opponent I’d choose Josh. I have two good goalkeepers and it’s up to me to make a decision.
“[On Lopez] It was a simple and easy decision to make – losing Andrea, when we made the decision this morning that he wouldn’t be involved it was a big blow. We worked all week on the gameplan and then Andrea is not here.
“I’m really happy with the way Mikey has trained in the last few weeks – he may not have played a lot of games in the last few months but I believe he has the physicality to cope with the 95 minutes. I believe having Fede and Mikey in the midfield will protect our back four.”
How They Line Up…
NYCFC XI: Johansen, Allen, Brillant, Chanot, Matarrita, Bravo, Iraola, Lopez, Harrison, Mendoza, Villa
NYCFC Subs: Saunders, Hernandez, Lampard, McNamara, Taylor, Shelton, Martinez
Toronto XI: Irwin, Hagglund, Moor, Zavaleta, Morrow, Beitashour, Cooper, Bradley, Osorio, Altidore, Giovinco