Toronto FC and D.C. United meet for the first time since the 2019 MLS playoffs when they begin Group C play in the MLS Is Back Tournament near Orlando, Fla., on Sunday morning.
The match was rescheduled from Friday night because of travel delays for Toronto (1-0-1, 4 points) earlier in the week when a player had experienced coronavirus symptoms, prompting another round of testing before departure to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
"Because our group has been together for a lot of time, a lot of years, and a lot of games, we've got a good sense of who we are and how we will adapt to the situations," Toronto coach Greg Vanney said.
D.C. (1-1-0, 3 points) lost its season opener 2-1 at home to the Colorado Rapids on Feb. 29 before rebounding with a 2-1 victory versus expansion Inter Miami on March 7.
The league shortly thereafter temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. MLS developed the tournament to resume the season in a controlled environment with the three group stage matches counting in the regular season standings.
"We are very excited for this tournament. It's something new," D.C. United defender Frederic Brillant said. "I think we are prepared for that."
After months of uncertainty, D.C. midfielder Ulises Segura is happy to be back on the field.
"It's always good to have that relief of going back to work doing what we enjoy the most and are passionate about," he said.
Toronto had a 2-2 tie at San Jose on Feb. 29 followed by a 1-0 home victory vs. New York City FC on March 7 despite missing U.S. men's national team midfielder Michael Bradley (ankle). He is healthy now but rookie Ifunanyachi Achara, who scored against NYCFC, sustained a season-ending knee injury in training earlier this month.
In the playoff meeting, D.C. United lost 5-1 to Toronto in the first round on Oct. 19.
--Field Level Media