Preview: New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday’s Major League Soccer clash between New York Red Bulls and Toronto, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

First place in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer is within reach for the New York Red Bulls, who return to action at Red Bull Arena on Saturday when they host Toronto.

Gerhard Struber‘s men were shutout 2-0 by Charlotte FC a week ago, while the Reds snapped a six-game winless run in league play by edging the Chicago Fire 3-2 in their previous encounter.

Match preview

© Reuters

The most impressive parts of the solid early season form for the Red Bulls has turned a little stale in recent weeks, with this group losing consecutive road encounters after winning their first five away fixtures.

While there were some regular starters away though injury or on international duty, New York rarely looked comfortable in the electric atmosphere of North Carolina, conceding late in each half as they are now winless in three consecutive road contests.

It is rather odd to see them as inactive high up the field as we saw last weekend, when they managed just seven shots altogether, ending a run of 27 straight MLS affairs, including the playoffs in which the Red Bulls had fired 10 shots or more.

Before the international window, they managed to get an albatross off their back by winning at home in convincing fashion, scoring four times in the second half to defeat DC United 4-1.

The Red Bulls lead the league when it comes to expected goal differential, though that statistic could be better had they maintained their focus in the dying moments of recent matches, conceding five goals in their previous four MLS encounters with fewer than five minutes to play in either half.

Historically, they have had Toronto’s number on home soil, losing only two of their 18 fixtures played against them in New York/New Jersey, with six of those victories being by a margin of three or more goals.

Toronto FC defender Carlos Salcedo (3) and Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo (10) celebrate a goal against the D.C. United at BMO Field on March 19, 2022© Reuters

A difficult month of May for the Reds ended on a positive note as they overcame a lot of Chicago pressure in the second half to win for the first time since mid-April.

By no means was it the most impressive performance from this side, but afterwards, manager Bob Bradley talked about the resilience of this group, who had been unlucky to lose some of their previous encounters.

At the moment, Bradley says that they are relying on the mentality of the team, along with their determination, which carried them through against Chicago after suffering numerous psychological blows last month.

There is still a lot of growth that this side need to go through before being considered a contender once again, particularly in transition, as other teams have had a relatively easy time playing through the middle against Toronto.

Defensively they continue to look shaky, conceding the third-most goals in MLS (27), and allowing five in their last two league fixtures.

Some solid home-grown talents have shown flashes of brilliance in Toronto, and with Italian striker Lorenzo Insigne set to join in a couple of weeks, there is optimism that maybe they can pull out a few more victories.

New York Red Bulls Major League Soccer form:

New York Red Bulls form (all competitions):

Toronto Major League Soccer form:

Toronto form (all competitions):

Team News

New York Red Bulls head coach Gerhard Struber during the second half against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on April 3, 2022© Reuters

Red Bulls centre-back Aaron Long missed the last match after being called up to the US national team for the Nations League and some international friendlies.

Cristian Casseres was also out, Andres Reyes has a foot problem, Lucas Monzon and Serge Ngoma have hamstring issues and Cameron Harper is questionable due to a knee injury.

A first-half hat-trick from Lewis Morgan propelled New York to a comfortable 4-1 win over Toronto at BMO Field in their previous encounter this year, with Long tallying the other goal, while Patryk Klimala had three assists and Frankie Amaya collected one.

Klimala is tied for the team lead in assists with three, and Luquinhas has two goals in his last two league games, but Klimala has been suspended for what the league has deemed a serious foul in their fixture against Charlotte.

A brace from Alejandro Pozuelo in the span of seven minutes helped Toronto come back to beat the Fire, while Deandre Kerr tallied early in the first half, his second of the campaign.

Their leading goalscorer Jesus Jimenez has cooled off, without a goal in his last six matches in all competitions, though he managed to find the back of the net in their previous meeting versus the Red Bulls this year thanks to a lovely ball from Luca Petrasso.

Jonathan Osorio picked up a knock against Chicago and did not play for Canada in their Nations League group games against Curacao and Honduras, while Quentin Westberg started his first match of the domestic campaign in place of Alex Bono, making seven saves to preserve their victory against Chicago.

Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Chris Mavinga, Noble Okello and Kadin Chung might all be sidelined for another encounter with lower-body injuries.

New York Red Bulls possible starting lineup:
Coronel; Tolkin, S. Nealis, Long, D. Nealis; Yearwood, Amaya; Morgan, Fernandez, Luquinhas; Barlow

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Westberg; Thompson, O’Neill, Salcedo, Petrasso; Kerr, Bradley, Priso; Akinola, Pozuelo; Jimenez

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We say: New York Red Bulls 3-1 Toronto

It will take longer than a few weeks to fix the defensive issues plaguing TFC, so expect another long afternoon for the Reds, who have conceded plenty of goals at Red Bull Arena.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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