Win - there can be no lose or draw for Toronto FC tonight. Oh sure there's always the 'mathematically' still in it argument, but really they're done if they don't somehow manage to come away with all three points. (For a thorough and technical breakdown of NY and so forth please read James' excellent piece.)
Greg Vanney, Steven Caldwell, Michael Bradley and so on have all stepped forward to say how every man is going to fight until the end, that this is where they show what they're made of, that they're not out yet. Well where has that fight been? Why not show what they're made of sooner? Why not take control of their destiny before this? There are of course no easy or immediate answers to the place that TFC have put themselves in for the final couple of weeks of their season, but this is likely not going to end well.
They're going up against the New York Red Bulls, in New York - OK Harrison - but still, on their home turf and well they've been close to unbeatable there of late, having won their last six games at Red Bull Arena and haven't lost a game at home since the end of May. Yes they did get routed by the LA Galaxy a couple of weeks ago, but that was in LA against the most in form team in MLS of the moment - similar to Toronto a mere week later. But otherwise? Well we all remember 2009 - or if you're wise and wish to protect your sanity you've blocked it from memory - and the last time TFC went into New Jersey needing a win to make the playoffs...excited yet?
Positives for this game:
- New York is missing several players to international duty: Tim Cahill (who would have been suspended anyway), Roy Miller and Ambroise Oyongo.
- Peguy Luyindula received a late suspension for this game from the DisCo for his tackle on Houston's Luis Garrido
- Gilberto will play (but likely not start) and should bring a much needed spark to the Toronto attack
- It will Justin Morrow's 100th MLS start - nice bit of business for TFC's most consistent player (should be team MVP) this season
- TFC have to go all out - we should hopefully see some effort and intent from the entire team, not just a couple of players - if they sit back and they're doomed
- The last time Toronto played in New York, Gil scored THAT goal from THAT free kick - time for a little history repeating?
- Bradley-Wright Phillips has scored twenty-four goals this season. Twenty-four. And while not on a current tear he can not be discounted.
- Thierry Henry is playing. No seriously -I don't like him, but he's dangerous, he scored the game winner last week and this is likely his last kick at the can with MLS.
- New York is playing for their playoff life - they're usually successful.
- Richard Eckersley is likely to start. Why is this a negative? The ex-Red effect is never to be ignored. And Ecks is due for his first MLS goal. *Although who doesn't want to see him and Jackson going head to head?*
- It's TFC playing for their playoff lives, on the road, with a team that doesn't seem on the same page and their top scorer in Jermain Defoe seemingly with one foot out the door.
- And this Toronto FC team hasn't seemed interested in making the most of their opportunities from some time now.