Everyone has been chomping at the bit. All podcasts and networks are anxious for Sunday, March 6th to get here as we get ready to start a brand new season and of course it's no different for the New York Red Bulls as they try to defend their Supporters Shield championship and try to win those two elusive trophies in the MLS Cup & US Open Cup
That journey starts at Red Bull Arena as the club will take on Toronto FC on Sunday afternoon as they will raise their Supporters Shield Banner to the top and show their glory in winning the regular season twice in three seasons. But as this is a new season to get excited for we all need to remember that the other teams in the league have made some improvement and Toronto FC is no exception.
Bringing home Toronto native Will Johnson from the defending MLS Cup Champion Portland Timbers, Drew Moor from the Colorado Rapids and let's also not forget the dangerous Sebastian Giovinco who exploded on the scene scoring multiple highlight goals that makes you think that the first MLS club in Canada can finally put a season together.
The tough task to keep those balls out of the net against Toronto FC is of course goalkeeper Luis Robles who had a very good pre-season with the club as well as his start with the US Men's National Team where he got the victory over Iceland in late January. "Today we watched some video of (Giovinco's) tendencies also with what Toronto likes to do on offense and try to find him." said Robles, "They also have other guys that are dangerous as well with a lot of quality, but I like our chances and if we are mentally there we should do well."
A new season is upon head coach Jesse Marsch as he knows that this side improved over the off-season with the moves that were made by Toronto and how they can try to slow them down if Altidore will or won't play in the season opener. "I think if Jozy plays then they tilted Giovinco to the left, but if he doesn't play then I think they will play him up high." said Marsch, "But regardless of where he plays the emphasis is that you have to stand him up, try to take the ball and try to get numbers around him and if you dive in or try to commit too much, he can stop on a dime and turn on you. He's a really tough matchup and we expect our backs to handle it."
This is going to be a fantastic match to start the 2016 season as we all hope it will be for the Red Bulls as they take on an improved Toronto FC who is also looking to improve after making the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time last season but got blasted off the pitch by the Montreal Impact. But the big moment before the first ball gets kicked to start the 2016 season there will be that magical moment when the 2015 Supporters Shield Banner is going to get raised to the top of the Arena.
After everything that happened from the 2015 off-season till the end of the Eastern Conference Final, how will that banner raising ceremony close that chapter and the club begin a new for Marsch. "That's what's great because it's an important moment for our fans to raise the banner and hopefully that puts closure and I don't have to answer questions about the shield and we can move forward. In our minds we have already done that."