Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls: Can TFC Clinch A Playoff Spot Today?
Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls ~ 5pm ET ~ BMO Field ~ TSN2
So TFC fans, this is a weird place to be in eh? A winning team, a team in first, a team legitimately challenging for the Supporter’s Shield – as we like to say (or sing): is this the real life, is this just fantasy? After years of futility could this team finally be good? Not sporadically good, but actually a good team – one that could do something of significance? Meltdowns vs the Impact notwithstanding, Toronto are having a pretty good run of form having only lost once in their last eight games and going top of the East – not too shabby at all. Their last game was one of their better performances with solid play from the entire team and goals from a resurgent Jozy Altidore and (finally) from Jonathan Osorio.
This afternoon’s match against the energy drinks is one of those games you want your team to make a statement – the possibility to knock off the team right behind them in the standings (a true six pointer!) and in front of the home crowd cannot be understated. This is the final meeting between the two teams this season (having split the previous two at Red Bull Arena) and though the team from Jersey is on an eleven game unbeaten streak, four of their last eight (including letting DC United come back last week) have been draws.
Sure they boast the league’s leading scorer in Bradley Wright-Phillips – seriously it’s worrisome how easily he scores – and Sacha Kljestan is the set up king, Toronto are not exactly pushovers. With most of the results in the rest of the Eastern Conference going TFC’s way yesterday (especially the draw between NYCFC and Mark Hinkley’s FC Dallas), Toronto are in a prime position to put some serious ground between them and their rivals.
One of the main questions for today’s match is whether or not some of TFC’s remaining injured players will return; namely Clint Irwin and Sebastian Giovinco. While fans have expected the return of Irwin the past couple of weeks, the idea that Seba could feature this afternoon came as a surprise. Seba’s been out injured since that wretched match against Montreal and was expected to miss at least a month, however he’s been training with the team and as of Friday was called day-to-day by coach Greg Vanney. Would it be kind of great to have Seba back? Of course. But with the playoff stretch looming as Toronto seeks to avoid the knockout round, you have to expect that Seba will only see the pitch today if the game goes off the rails.
Speaking of the playoffs; Toronto FC can clinch their playoff spot with a win today. So no pressure boys, nope none at all. Expect a packed BMO Field, it’s a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon and TFC fans are waiting to have their team storm into the playoffs, not just limp there. Toronto has won the last two times that the Energy Drinks came to BMO, let’s go for three TFC, just for kicks yeah? Expect a tough game – there’s potential for goals, a lot of scrappy play and as mentioned points and table position all up for grabs. I predicted 2-2 on the podcast and well, I’m sticking with it – but I hope I’m wrong!