Major League Soccer: Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls
BMO Field – Saturday, September 30 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: Toronto 1/2 – Draw 16/5 – NY Red Bulls 9/2
Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls: Preview
The Reds need three points to guarantee a top-placed finish after an excellent season. They have looked vulnerable in their past two games, but the absences of Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco are valid excuses for those defeats.
Toronto are on 62 points, seven in front of NYCFC coming into the weekend. They need to reach 65 points to guarantee the Supporters’ Shield win, but they could still wrap up the win regardless, depending on NYCFC and Atlanta’s results on Saturday.
What is clear is that Toronto have been the best side in MLS this season. They are heading into the playoffs as the team to beat and will be looking to go one further than last year’s heartbreaking penalty shootout loss.
The Red Bulls can’t make any postseason plans until they knuckle down and secure their spot. They’ve not won in nine-straight MLS outings and have seemingly been doing all they can to let those in behind put pressure on.
Wednesday night’s 3-3 draw with DC United was a prime example of what’s gone wrong for the Red Bulls in recent weeks. They came back to lead 3-2 heading into the final minutes, but a Fidel Escobar own goal in stoppage time saw the game end 3-3.
— D.C. United (@dcunited) September 28, 2017
Jesse Marsch’s men are still four points clear of Montreal coming into the weekend. They should be able to wrap up a top six finish, especially with back-to-back home games coming up after Saturday’s trip to Toronto.
But the worry is that they have no real form to be optimistic about if they do indeed lock down their playoff spot. They still have four regular season games to play though. The job will now be to start performing better at a pivotal stage of the campaign.
This will be the third meeting between the two sides this season. They shared the points in a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena back in May. Toronto haven’t won any of their last three games against the Red Bulls.
Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls: Team News
Toronto are set to still be without Benoit Cheyrou, although Greg Vanney has said he may have a fully fit squad to choose from. That should mean Jozy Altidore and Nick Hagglund return, with Sebastian Giovinco a doubt.
— Toronto FC (@torontofc) September 27, 2017
The New York Red Bulls received a boost on Wednesday as Daniel Royer made his long-awaited return from injury. But Aurelien Collin is still out, while Gideon Baah is out for the season. The same applies for Mike Grella, who won’t play again in 2017. Gonzalo Veron will be pushing for a start after making a positive impact off the bench on Wednesday.
Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls: Key Points
Toronto FC’s last five: W/W/W/L/L
New York Red Bulls’ last five: D/D/L/L/D
Key Stat: Toronto have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. They haven’t lost three consecutive MLS games since the end of the 2015 season.
Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – If the Red Bulls are to get three points here, they’ll need BWP to be on song. He has scored in his last two away games and will be confident given Toronto’s recent defensive lapses.
Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls: Prediction
Toronto FC 2-2 New York Red Bulls – The last two games between these two have ended all square. We see that trend continuing on Saturday evening. Toronto still need three points to guarantee the Supporters’ Shield title, and they will want to prevent a three-game losing streak as the playoffs edge closer. The Red Bulls need to try and secure their playoff spot. They have been struggling of late and haven’t been able to pick up wins. A point at BMO Field would be a positive result, with back-to-back home games coming up next.