pirlo the xi

The XI: Pirlo Starts in Toronto

Andrea Pirlo makes his return to the starting XI against Toronto today after missing out on NYCFC's last two matches. The midfield maestro will be working alongside Alexander Ring and Maxi Moralez as he attempts to break down Toronto's defense.

Not present in the midfield today is Yangel Herrera, who is suspended from today's match due to picking up a red card last weekend. His youthful exuberance will be replaced by Pirlo's experience against a talented Toronto side. 

On the backline, Ben Sweat returns to the starting lineup after being subbed off against Chicago with a head injury last weekend. He'll be joined once again by goalscorer Frederic Brillant as Maxime Chanot continues to recover from his injury. 

Rounding out the backline are Alex Callens, who continues his run of playing every minute for Patrick Vieira's side this year, and Ethan White, who will be making his second start in a row in place of RJ Allen. 

Farther up the pitch, Tommy McNamara will be starting on the left wing, where rookie Jonathan Lewis made his full debut last weekend. Across from him will be Jack Harrison, and in the middle will be David Villa, who captains the side. 

If you've been counting, that's two changes to the lineup made by Patrick Vieira, who will be hoping for the same effort from this group as he got from his men in last weekend's gutsy victory.

Today's match kicks off at 2:00PM ET on ESPN.

READ: How to Follow: NYCFC at Toronto FC

NYCFC XI: Johnson; Sweat, Callens, Brillant, White; Pirlo, Ring, Moralez; Harrison, McNamara, Villa (C)

NYCFC Bench: Awuah, Allen, Johansen, Lewis, Lopez, Okoli, Stertzer