The New York Red Bulls were fortunate enough to get a 1-0 road win over a struggling Vancouver Whitecaps team two weeks ago, but will need a lot more luck to go into Canada again and bring home three points against Toronto FC.
The Red Bulls are undoubtedly feeling just a little bit better from their late-game collapse against DC United thanks to a strong team performance in the 1-0 win over Alianza in the CCL. But it will still take a strong effort from the team to come away with one, let alone three points against such a dominating Toronto team.
To think that the fate of the New York Red Bulls' Eastern Conference title hopes could very well rest on the shoulders of a player who might not even be active in Sunday's big match between the Red Bulls and Toronto FC: Sebastian Giovinco.
The Toronto FC megastar made mincemeat of the Red Bulls in the club's wins over the team in October 2015 and in the 2016 season opener. It was thanks in large part to Giovinco's first-half injury in May that the Red Bulls' 3-0 win wasn't as competitive. However, Giovinco is nursing another injury and may not start or even appear in the big game in Toronto on Sunday. But the Red Bulls won't be out of the woods even if the Italian superstar is absent.
Jozy Altidore is on a hot streak, after all, scoring six goals and an assist in his last eight appearances for Toronto. Suffice it to say, the Red Bulls should do their best to keep Jozy away from the ball even if Giovinco plays.
Here is the New York Red Bulls predicted XI at Toronto FC:
GK Luis Robles - After a strong showing against Alianza FC, it's hard to imagine Robles needing rest against Toronto
DF Kemar Lawrence
DF Aurelien Collin
DF Damien Perrinelle - With Ronald Zubar ailing it looks like Perrinelle will be the next man up
DF Chris Duvall
MF Sean Davis - There's a chance Dax McCarty might be ready to make his return. But with Davis playing superb soccer these last few weeks there should be no need to rush the captain back .
MF Daniel Royer - With Grella coming off a full 90 minutes against Alianza on Thursday, Royer should get another chance to start while with Grella being available as an attacking sub.
MF Sacha Kljestan
MF Alex Muyl
FW Bradley Wright-Phillips
It may not be an exaggeration to say that the road to the MLS Cup goes through Toronto, and that sooner or later the Red Bulls will need to beat a full-strength Toronto FC team to get to the Final. Then again, the Yankee Stadium tenants have a pretty easy schedule of their own along the way and could find a way to overtake the Toronto. Is Toronto a more dangerous team in the post-season than NYC FC?
What do you think?