After taking out e Chicago Fire in mid-week playoff action, the New York Red Bulls enter the Eastern Conference semi-Finals with a two legged affair against Toronto FC for the very first time.
The Wild Card Match at Toyota Park was the best complete performance in their playoff history as their top players converted all four goals from BWP, to Captain Kljestan, To Royer and finally the chip and dab dance from Veron.
But now the Red Bulls go from a one and done to a goal aggregate series with away goals as they will host Toronto FC at Red Bull Arena on Monday and this will be their first time facing this club, but the second consecutive year against a Club from Canada.
“Obviously going into Chicago we had our minds set on the next opponent which was Toronto. They had such a great season that if we beat Chicago, we knew we had to face Toronto.” said Luis Robles.
“Looking into this match up they are a good team, you look at starting from the back and all the way to the front they scored a lot of goals. It’s a big task for us, but we feel that we are up for the challenge.”
The Red Bulls had that crazy draw back on May 19th when a goal was taken away as Luis Robles was obstructed and interfered from making a save, then the crazy four two loss where Daniel Royer’s penalty leveled the match a two till a Justin Morrow hat trick ended their night.
We know how dangerous Toronto FC can be when you have Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley & Sebastian Giovinco, but there are other players that have moments who can be dangerous on the ball as well.
“There’s a lot going to prepare for this team and it’s very complex with what they do in putting players on the field.” Said Jesse Marsch, “Sometimes they put four in the back or five in the back, how many guys are in the midfield.
How they rotate things how they use different guys, who will be their guys that they call upon. There are so many variables when you are preparing for them which makes it fun. The challenge on the day is how good we can be on the day, if we do then we are tough to face against.”
The last time the Red Bulls hosted a first leg playoff match was in that 2014 season when they defeated Sporting KC in the Wild Card Game at home, then took on DC United at Red Bull Arena after wards. Went on a magical run till the Revolution stopped them.
“If I think back about my playoff experiences that was the only time we started at home and then go on the road.” said Robles, “The last two years we started on the road and then come home. It’s been very mixed.
As far as what the results have been, I’m hoping that this go-around because we are home first we get an advantage and then go to Toronto and go thru, but we need to get a result out of the bat.”
On Kemar Lawrence's injury in Chicago, he had a slightly sprained ankle that he was able to work it off and is doing just fine, he should be available for the starting 11 on Monday night.
But for the second consecutive playoff season, the Red Bulls are facing a Canadian side in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals as they played the Montreal Impact last year and now Toronto FC this year.
This should be an exciting match up and I expect to see a full house at Red Bull Arena as once again the MLS Cup Playoffs are ready to go with the Conference Semi-Finals after so many fireworks went off in the Wild Card Round.