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Decision Day Gives Toronto FC a Chance to Test Big Game Ability

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The club has known for a long time that this day would be important, and how they play could show how many important days are still to come.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC have played all year to put themselves in a position like this. With the final game of the season just hours away, the club has already clinched their first ever playoff spot, and largely control where they will finish in the Eastern Conference standings.

"Just talking amongst ourselves we've known for a while that [we] were gonna go into this last game with so much still to play for," said Michael Bradley after the loss to Columbus Crew last weekend.

In the Eastern Conference, the MLS schedule makers could not have drawn up this final day, decision day, as they are calling it, any better. The fourth place Toronto FC play the fifth place Montreal Impact while the second place D.C. United take on the third place Columbus Crew.

For Toronto FC, that makes the situation fairly complicated, but here is a simple breakdown: if Toronto FC win they can move up as high as second, if they tie they guarantee a knockout round home playoff game and a loss could see them fall as low as sixth.

"I think it's going to be an interesting weekend, I mean that's exactly what the league wants," said Greg Vanney after the match last weekend. "There should be a lot of interest, it's been amazing down the stretch how many teams have kept themselves sort of in the picture."

For Toronto FC, this will also be one final test before the end of the season exam that is the playoffs. A single game with this much on the line is perfect preparation for the winner takes all single game knockout round that Toronto FC will likely have to overcome.

There is no reason for Toronto FC not to go into this game with confidence. They have been one of the hottest teams in the league lately, collecting 12 of 15 points in a home stand that saw them beat the first placed New York Red Bulls.

They have also dominated the Montreal Impact in league play so far this season, winning 3-1 back on June 24 and 2-1 on August 29.

This is a different Montreal Impact team, however, a fact that comes down to one player. The last time that Toronto FC played the Impact, Didier Drogba was not in the lineup. Drogba has since become one of the league's most dominant players, and has 9 goals and 1 assist in 10 games.

Also not in the lineup the last time the two clubs played was Ignacio Piatti, who scored a stunning goal against New England last weekend to clinch a playoff spot for the Impact.

The fact that this game will be played on the road for Toronto also makes a huge difference, as they have been significantly worse away from home. They have 4 wins 3 draws and 9 losses on the road as opposed to 11 wins 5 losses and 1 draw at home.

Should they win today, however, it would be a record-breaking fifth road win for the club. The Impact, on the other hand, have also been strong at home with 10 wins 4 losses and 2 draws.

With that win the Impact are also in a place to claim a home playoff seed should they win today. That means at the end of the day a Canadian team will host a playoff game for the first time in league history. A win today for the Vancouver Whitecaps over the Houston Dynamo could mean that it is two playoff games played on Canadian soil.

Toronto FC have been preparing for this game, mentally at least, for a long time. With the playoffs just around the corner, it will give them a chance to not only show, but prove to themselves, that they can win crucial games.