Another poor result has New York Red Bull’s fans wondering if the team will win another match before the season ends. They have not won since August and have a very tough schedule to end the season. Toronto FC is not exactly the ideal opponent to play at this point in the season, so Jesse Marsch will need to bring his best team to Toronto to get a positive result.
Toronto is the team to beat this season. After their incredible 11 match unbeaten streak in which they won eight matches, though, they hit a bit of a speed bump. They have lost two in a row, including a wild 5-3 loss as the hands of the Montreal Impact. This was also their first home loss on the season, only furthering their case for best team in MLS.
The two big names that come to mind when thinking about Toronto FC are Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco. Luckily, Giovinco will still not be fit enough to play in this match due to a quad injury. There are rumors, though, that Altidore will be returning and could even start this match. Just the thought of Altidore going up against the conundrum that is the Red Bulls defense is enough to induce stress and anxiety.
The big American striker is having another great year, scoring 13 goals and assisting five. His hold up play is some of the best in MLS, making it all the more frightening when he decides to run in behind defenders with his deceptively quick movement. National team fans know that Altidore can be a bit frustrating at times, but when he is on form, he can be one of the most potent strikers.
Shutting down Victor Vazquez will be another big task that Marsch will need to address. The Spaniard has created 10 goals on the season while knocking in seven himself. The area he occupies on the pitch seems to be a problematic one for the Red Bulls to defend. Federico Higuain has already proven this point when he bagged three assists against New York just a few games ago. Felipe will need to step up and mark Vazquez closely if he wants to limit the supply to Toronto’s forwards.
The Red Bulls know all too well how important it is to have a potent striker in their ranks. The team finally welcomed Daniel Royer back in their 3-3 draw with DC United mid week. The Austrian had been out for what felt like half the season with a knee injury, but was finally fit enough to play the last 15 minutes of the match. His inclusion against Toronto will be vital as Bradley Wright-Phillips has played 180 minutes in the last six days and is surely due for at least reduced minutes in this match.
Midfielder Tyler Adams had a career game against DC, netting his first two competitive goals for the club. The new five at the back system gave him a bit more freedom to move forward and influence the attacking side of the game. Though he will not be replacing any of the forwards anytime soon, it is always nice to have another goal scoring threat in the team.
Defense continues to be an issue for the Red Bulls. This time, a 90th minute own goal by Fidel Escobar was the downfall of the day. The defensive players cannot seem to catch a break lately, whether it be lack of ability or just being unlucky (the Escobar incident was a bit of both). No matter the case, game in and game out, the team misses Aurelien Collin more and more. The solidity and leadership he brought to the backline cannot be replaced, and the recent performances only make that point more evident.
Traveling to Toronto has never been fun for any team. Now, with the Red Bulls hungry for any sort of positive result, the task only seems even more difficult. New York still sits four points above seventh place Montreal, but they cannot take their playoff spot for granted. There is not much room left for error, so the team will need to dig deep in this Eastern Conference matchup and go all out for the full three points.