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New England Game Crucial if Toronto FC want Playoff Game at BMO Field

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Nobody in Toronto's organization was willing to say that this game was any more important than any of the other eight regular season games that remain. However, Sunday is Toronto's best chance to move up in the standings.

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In mid-May Toronto FC were preparing for a game against the New England Revolution. For a team that had been mediocre to start the year, this game could prove to everyone that they were for real against a team then considered to be among the best in the league.

Michael Bradley, however, was unwilling to acknowledge this as a measuring stick game, saying it was too early in the season, at that point every game was a measuring stick.

He was right, of course, it was too early to start measuring a team that was still finding an identity only three months into a long MLS season.

Toronto would go onto draw that game 1-1 on the road against a team who was then at the top of the Eastern Conference. In many ways it was a result that kick started the club's season.

Three months later, New England and Toronto are now neck in neck in the race for a home playoff spot. This past week the Revolution leaped over TFC to take the fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

That means this time, when they meet on Sunday, all forms of measuring equipment can be brought out.

Toronto FC have proven this season that they are a playoff team, and are only a handful of wins away from making it official for the first time in their history.

What they have yet to prove is whether or not this current team really can be considered a contender. With their roster, and glimpses of talent they have shown so far this season, many are not happy that they haven't risen to the level of the league elite.

The only place where Toronto can truly prove themselves to be amongst the best in Major League Soccer is in the playoffs, but Sunday's game would be a good start.

If Toronto want to host a home playoff game this year, Sunday's game is crucial. It is the last time this year they will get to play New England, the team most likely to be able to knock them out of a home playoff spot. In this regard it is a six point game.

In fact, this may be the closest thing the club gets to a playoff game before the real thing arrives, if they do indeed qualify. At home that should give them more than enough reason to treat this game as massive.

Once again in training this week, Michael Bradley, never one for hyperbole, was unwilling to say that this game was any more crucial than the others that remain.

As Greg Vanney said on Friday, Toronto play three games in the next six days and all of them are worth the same amount of points.

From a playoff standpoint both are correct, Toronto need three more wins to clinch a spot in the playoffs. There is no discrimination as to who those wins come against.

But even if Bradley isn't willing to admit it, he should understand that Toronto will not get a better opportunity to move themselves up the MLS standings.

So the measuring tapes will be out this weekend, and their reading will be a good indicator of how this season is going to end up, one way or another.