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Toronto FC expects another physical affair when it plays New York City FC

07/10/2015 02:03 EDT | Updated 07/10/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Toronto FC has played New York City FC just once but the rivalry already runs deep.

In their first meeting, a 2-0 win at BMO Field on June 20, the expansion New Yorkers hacked away at Toronto star Sebastian Giovinco. And Toronto defender Damien Perquis, irate at a perceived cheap shot, had to be restrained after the game.

Toronto (7-7-2) expects more of the same at Yankee Stadium on Sunday when England star Frank Lampard is scheduled to make his MLS debut for New York City FC (5-8-5). Italian star Andrea Pirlo is waiting in the New York wings.

"They have a lot of hoopla going around," said Toronto coach Greg Vanney.

"I think they'll come out and be motivated and be guns ablazing and we shouldn't expect anything less than a physical and heated affair.

Perquis, a hard-nosed Polish international, expects the rough treatment to continue for the five-foot-four 135-pound Giovinco, one of the league's brightest stars.

"I saw and you saw like me during the last three or four games they are doing some hard work on Sebastian, all the teams," he said.

"I don't expect on Sunday it will be different," he added.

Perquis has run afoul of the MLS disciplinary committee twice recently, also fined for embellishment in a 0-0 tie with D.C. United on June 27.

"Maybe I'm a bad boy for the (committee) but I know who I am and I am a good boy," the French-born Perquis said with a hint of a smile.

Perquis was fined by the league for his post-game attempt to get at New York City FC midfielder Andrew Jacobson.

Video is not conclusive but it appears Perquis was not totally innocent in the matter. Jacobson did send Perquis to the ground with a forearm to the back in a melee in front of goal but it appeared that the Toronto player had been reaching for his crotch seconds before.

Vanney says his defender has put the incident behind him.

"What I've learned about Damien is in the heat of the moment, he can be very emotional," said Vanney. "After he settles down, logic then comes into play."

Sunday's game is an important one. While Toronto has games in hand, a win in New York would be welcome considering TFC has dropped five of six points over its last two contests.

Toronto goes into the weekend in fifth spot in the East, tied on 23 points with the sixth-place New York Red Bulls. New York City FC is seventh, just out of the playoff picture with 20 points.

"They work hard, they're physical., They're obviously adding some quality to their team," Vanney said of NYCFC.

Toronto, which has lost American stars Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore and Canadians Ashtone Morgan and Jonathan Osorio to the Gold Cup, is coming off a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy in one of the team's poorest performances of the season.

"The short of it is we just flat out weren't good enough," said Vanney. "We were disjointed in a lot of ways as a collective group and then we had a lot of subpar performances in general.

"But just as a group we weren't connected both defensively and offensively."

In shifting from Los Angeles to New York, Toronto will have to deal with two radically different fields.

The StubHub Center pitch in L.A. is the biggest in Major League Soccer at 120 yards by 80. New York's field at Yankee Stadium, its temporary base while it searches for a permanent home, is the league's smallest at 110 by 70.

"It means the bodies are going to be a lot closer together and they're an aggressive team," said Toronto assistant coach Dan Calichman.

Toronto has more lineups options with England striker Luke Moore back in the fold after missing last week's game due to a death in the family.

Vanney may look to insert someone new at right back, with Warren Creavalle still learning the position.

Spanish star David Villa, who scored both goals in the June game in Toronto, has six goals and an assist in New York's last six league games.

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