Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC
Venue: Red Bull Arena – Saturday, August 15 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 7/10 – Draw 3/1 – Toronto 100/30
The Red Bulls are five points above Toronto after both have played 22 games, though both sides have three matches in hand over league leaders DC United with just two months to go until the postseason.
Toronto have never made the MLS Playoffs but Sebastian Giovinco’s class has set them up for a longer season than they are used to. They are still only three points clear of Orlando in seventh but will look to get closer to the Red Bulls with a road win this weekend.Embed from Getty Images
Greg Vanney’s men have won just one of their last four and haven’t won away from BMO Field since early June. A run of two draws and two defeats on the road has followed and winning at Red Bull Arena is no easy task, especially as TFC have never done so in MLS.
That will fill the home fans with confidence, as will the fact they have now gone unbeaten through their last five league games, winning four of those.
Bradley Wright-Phillips has found some form at the right time and has scored four in his last five. Jesse Marsch has his side in good shape and last weekend’s 2-0 win over New York City will have only increased confidence around the club.
Toronto fell 3-1 at home to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night after beating Orlando 4-1 in the midweek game. A full week’s recovery will help but winning at Red Bull Arena for the first time ever looks unlikely here.
This will be the first league meeting between the two sides this season. They will meet in Toronto on October 13 in what will be the third-to-last week of the regular season.
New York Red Bulls will still be without defensive duo Chris Duvall and Ronald Zubar but they are the only injury concerns Jesse Marsch has to deal with. Shaun Wright-Phillips is likely to start on the bench again as Mike Grella and Lloyd Sam are in good form.
Toronto have concerns over Mark Bloom and Luke Moore as both are likely to miss out. Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore should all start together and that will only help Toronto’s chances. New signing Herculez Gomez is in contention to feature.
New York Red Bulls’ last five: W/W/W/D/W
Toronto’s last five: W/D/L/W/L
Key Stat: Toronto have never won at Red Bulls Arena in six opportunities. The Red Bulls have won five games there and there has been one draw.
Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Italian has been sensational all year and whenever he’s on the field, his team have a chance. If Toronto are to get anything here, Giovinco needs to be in the mood.Embed from Getty Images
New York Red Bulls 2-2 Toronto – Expecting an entertaining affair in this one, but with both sides closely matched on paper, it’s difficult to separate them. A high scoring draw could be the outcome as both will look to keep playoff hopes intact.