One of the most thrilling matches of the season took place last weekend between the New York Red Bulls and DC United. A 3-3 draw saw Bradley Wright-Phillips net another hattrick on the season as the defense had some real moments to forget.
Each goal that BWP scored tied the match with DC. His hunger was evident this match and the pure determination to score his second and third goals were a byproduct of this fierce rivalry.
It is hard to argue that a point away from home against a hot DC United team was not a good result. The defensive lapses were to blame for the dropped points, but the positives were just as prominent. Robles made numerous key saves on Rooney and others to keep his team in it, and the BWP hattrick was exactly what the team needed to avoid defeat.
The team also finally had a solid six days to relax and refocus between games. Their previous month was jam packed with fixtures and created a lot of clutter on the schedule. Having just two games in six days instead of three makes the world of difference for a team as energetic as the Red Bulls.
The opponent, Toronto FC, may not be as energetic heading into this match. They played in the first ever Campeons Cup on Wednesday against Liga MX champions Tigres.
Toronto lost 3-1 on the night, scoring their lone goal late in the match on a penalty kick. All the big names started the match, but head coach Greg Vanney played conservatively overall.
Sebastian Giovinco was substituted just 40 minutes into the match while Jozy Altidore was taken out at the 57th minute. The two will be the main dangermen for Toronto against the Red Bulls as they look to link up play and create chances.
Toronto is coming off a ridiculous 5-3 win over the LA Galaxy in their last MLS match. Altidore, Giovinco, and Osorio all had goals on the night as Toronto looked fascinating in attack.
The Galaxy defense was to blame for the explosion of goals, which could be worrying for the Red Bulls. For a team that has played so incredibly strong all year in defense, they have wilted in recent matches.
Six goals allowed in their last two matches says a lot about the mindset of the players. Aaron Long and Kemar Lawrence started both matches, with Tim Parker sitting out two weeks ago against the Impact.
Getting back to defensive basics will do the team a world of good. Luis Robles is one of the best goalkeepers in MLS, but he cannot do his job properly if he constantly has to worry about sloppy possession and careless giveaways.
Altidore and Giovinco are by no means new faces in MLS. Altidore is known for his aggressive hold up play while Giovinco can frustrate even the toughest defenders with his skill and speed.
Tyler Adams will need to put in a shift against this dangerous Toronto attack. The match against DC came just four days after his 90 minute performance for the USMNT where he scored his first ever goal. The six days off will do wonders for Adams as the Red Bulls midfield will look to him as a leader.
With this game being at Red Bull Arena, facing a team like Toronto this late in the season should produce a great match. Toronto is in ninth in the East, but just three wins would put them in a playoff spot. They will be fighting for their lives during this last stretch of the season.
Atlanta United also won again in their midweek match, so the pressure is back on the Red Bulls as both teams take aim at the Supporters Shield. BWP is on another planet this season, but he will need support from the other attackers if the Red Bulls want to come out victorious against Toronto.