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Toronto FC Have a Chance to Make and Change History Against Red Bulls

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Things didn't exactly go well the last time Toronto FC played the New York Red Bulls with a playoff berth in the balance. Today they will try to change that story.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

With three straight victories, Toronto FC are among the hottest teams in Major League Soccer. However, there is an asterisks beside this winning streak: the teams that they have played.

The Philadelphia Union, Chicago Fire and Colorado Rapids are all Major League Soccer bottom-dwellers with little to nothing to play for, and therefore the nine points Toronto FC collected are not surprising.

Toronto's opponent today is at the opposite end of the spectrum: at the top of the table and needing wins to lock up the Supporter's Shield. Whereas Toronto has caught their last three opponents in a dreadful run of form, the Red Bulls have won 12 of their last 17 league matches.

That puts them in the category of team Toronto FC have consistently struggled to beat this season: the league's elite. Toronto FC have only beat two of the top 10 teams in the league so far this season, and have already lost to the Red Bulls twice.

Setting aside the opponents, the way Toronto FC has played lately has been promising. Against the Chicago Fire they came from behind to claim all three points, while against the Colorado Rapids and Philadelphia Union they dominated every aspect of the game.

Tonight they have an opportunity for an even bigger confidence builder: to prove that they can hang with the league's best right before they will need to in order to extend their season.

The match will be extra difficult, because of who is available. Toronto FC got lucky with the fact that Michael Bradley returned early from United States camp, but neither Sebastian Giovinco nor Jozy Altidore will be in the starting 11 tonight.

There have been rumours that the Atomic Ant could be on the bench for tonight's game despite the fact that he came off the bench for the Italian national team yesterday against Norway. Whether or not Toronto actually pull such a bold move remains to be seen.

While this match is important, it is far from the be all end all of the season. Toronto FC remain one point away from clinching a playoff spot, something they could just as easily do on Saturday against Columbus or against Montreal the next week.

Orlando could also do them a favour as well; as an point the expansion side drops also means a clinched playoff spot for Toronto FC.

But Toronto will want to handle business on their own, and this is their best opportunity to do so, even if it means clinching their first ever playoff spot in the shadow of the Toronto Blue Jays.

It will still be an incredible moment: at home and in front of the faithful who have waited so long for this day. Not having to wait for other results to go their way.

Because this is Toronto FC, this match will come laced with bad memories for most supporters. The last time TFC were this club to the playoffs, when they had matters in their own hands against the Red Bulls in 2009, they lost 5-0.

Getting redemption for that heartbreaking loss would be poetic for a club that has been through so much negativity since 2007.