Jesus Medina (19) celebrates after scoring. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sport)

ORLANDO – Toronto FC jinx? What Toronto FC, jinx?

New York City FC laid some ghosts of the recent past and avenged last year’s early playoff eliminated Sunday night as it recorded a stunning 3-1 victory over Toronto in the Round of 16 of the MLS Is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports.

City, which was fortunate to stay alive in this competition with a 1-2 group-stage mark, entered the knockout-round game with a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) to the Canadian club. Last year underdog Toronto FC eliminated heavily favored and Eastern Conference regular season champion NYCFC from the MLS Cup playoffs.

First-half substitute Maxi Moralez tallied one goal and set up another. Jesus Medina and Valentín Castellanos also scored for NYCFC, which entered the match with only two goals in its five games this season.

NYCFC will play the winner of Tuesday’s match between Portland Timbers-FC Cincinnati match next Saturday night.

“The team effort today was unbelievable,” NYCFC head coach Ronny Deila said. “”We deserved to win. We had more chances than Toronto. This was a great win and I am very proud of the boys.”

City kicked off the match with its two top attacking weapons on the bench – playmaking midfielder Moralez and striker Heber.

In contrast to the start of two of its tournament matches, NYCFC came out like gangbusters against Toronto FC and that paid off with an early goal. City took advantage of a poor clearance by Toronto as Anton Tinnerholm got possession of the ball and fed Medina, who slipped the ball past goalkeeper Quentin Westberg.

Coming in hot to start the Round of 16 🔥#MLSisBack

Posted by New York City FC on Sunday, July 26, 2020

In the 12th minute, Alex Ring was assessed a yellow card for some rough play, his 35th in four seasons with NYCFC. But because knockout-round games don’t count in the standings, it shouldn’t count against the midfielder’s official card total.

Castellanos gave NYCFC some breathing room in the 55th minute. Moralez, who had been nursing a quad injury before replacing the injured Ismael Tajouri-Shradi on the half hour, set up his teammate. Castellanos ran down the left side, took a step toward the right and fired a shot into the lower right corner for a two-goal advantage. It was Moralez’s 50th assist in his four years with the club.

Maxi and Taty connect to put us up two goals over Toronto! 🇦🇷🗽

Posted by New York City FC on Sunday, July 26, 2020

Moralez, off a pass from second-half sub Heber, scored into an empty net to give City a 3-0 bulge in the 81st minute.

Maxi Goal | #MLSisBack

Gary Mackay-Steven, Héber, and Maxi Moralez combine for a beautiful team goal to make it three on the night! #ForTheCity

Posted by New York City FC on Sunday, July 26, 2020

Videos courtesy of NYCFC’s Facebook page

Toronto pulled one back in the 87th minute when an onrushing Jozy Altidore fed Patrick Mullins, who beat goalkeeper Sean Johnson from eight yards.

A minute into stoppage time, Heber could have sealed the match with a 1 v 1 opportunity against Westburg, but he sent his chip shot off the crossbar. Two minutes later, the Brazilian striker again hit the bar in added time.