Maxi Moralez had a goal and an assist in the second half and New York City FC defeated Toronto FC 3-1 on Sunday to advance to the quarterfinals of the MLS is Back Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.
Jesus Medina (fifth minute) and Valentin Castellanos (55th) gave New York City a 2-0 lead before Moralez scored in the 81st. Patrick Mullins made it 3-1 in the 87th minute for Toronto.
New York City will play the winner of Tuesday’s FC Cincinnati vs. Portland Timbers match on Saturday.
– Play Soccer Playoff Pick ‘Em through the knockout rounds
– MLS is Back Tournament group standings
The MLS is Back Tournament champion earns a spot in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League. Unlike the three group stage matches, the knockout games do not count in the MLS regular season standings.
Medina gave NYCFC the early lead by taking advantage of a poor clearance by Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley off a restart service by Ronald Matarrita. Bradley’s attempt went to NYC defender Anton Tinnerholm and he quickly cut a pass to Medina on the left side of the box for a shot that went off the left arm of goalkeeper Quentin Westberg.
Castellanos extended the advantage in transition. Moralez sent an overhead ball from midfield down the left flank. Castellanos tracked the ball and was given space inside the penalty area to whip a shot inside the far post.
Moralez capped the NYCFC scoring by converting a heel pass from Heber for the comfortable margin.
Westberg made four saves while Sean Johnson had one for New York City.
Toronto’s 20-year-old forward Ayo Akinola, who scored five goals in three tournament games, did not play because of hamstring tightness. Jayden Nelson, 17, replaced Akinola for his MLS debut.