Not since 2013 has Toronto FC won a game on the final day of the season, which is ironic because that was one of the worst seasons in club history. Last year they fell to the Montreal Impact in the season finale, a loss that would ultimately be foreshadowing for the short and painful playoff run that followed.
The schedule makers have given Toronto FC a bit of a gift this year, however, today they take on the league's last placed team, the Chicago Fire, at BMO Field in the last game of the 2016 season. It is a real chance for Toronto, winless in their last five, to grab an all important momentum swing before the playoffs start.
Here are three stories to look for in today's match:
Toronto FC's Chances at a First Round Bye
Toronto FC have been in a position to get a bye through the knockout round of the MLS Cup Playoffs for most of this year. That is until a recent streak of poor results allowed both of the New York clubs to catch them in the standings and took matters out of Toronto's hands. The Red Bulls are now out of reach for Toronto FC and have all but wrapped up their second straight Eastern Conference title.
New York City FC are still only a point ahead of Toronto, however, and if they lose or draw today against the Columbus Crew it opens the door for TFC to jump into the second spot. Toronto has to beat the Chicago Fire, however, in order to make that a possibility as New York have the tiebreaker.
Other Decision Day Games to Watch
Decision day won't be quite as hectic this season as it was last year for Toronto FC. For one, they can't drop in the standings, no matter what they will finish at least third in the Eastern Conference. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth scoreboard watching today.
As aforementioned, the result of NYCFC against the Columbus Crew is paramount to how this day goes for Toronto FC. But if they can't leapfrog the blue side of New York in the standings, Toronto will play a knockout round game against the sixth placed team in the conference. Right now that is the Philadelphia Union, but if they manage to beat the New York Red Bulls, combined with a Impact loss, it would be Montreal who Toronto would meet in the first round.
Can Toronto FC's Offence Wake Up?
A big reason that Toronto FC has struggled of late has been their attack, especially at home. Toronto has scored just five times in their last five home matches. Two of those games have ended in being shutout by the opposition. Jozy Altidore has been in form, and Tosaint Ricketts has looked good at times, but otherwise nobody is going offensively for Toronto.
With Sebastian Giovinco just now returning from injury, Toronto FC's offense has a chance today to light a spark right before they are going to need their offence most: the playoffs. Against one of the worst backlines in the league, Toronto has a good chance to gain some momentum.
Toronto FC: Irwin; Zavaleta, Moor, Hagglund; Beitashour, Cooper, Bradley, Osorio, Morrow; Altidore, Giovinco
Subs: Bono, Bloom, Cheyrou, Delgado, Johnson, Ricketts, Williams
Chicago Fire: McLain; Rodrigo, Campbell, Meira, Vincent; Thiam, Polster; Alvarez, De Leeuw, Accam; Arshakyan
Venue: BMO Field Toronto, ON
Kickoff: 4 p.m. Eastern
SB Nation Opposition Blog: Hot Time in Old Town
TV: TSN 4
Streaming: TSN Go