The Headliner: Open Season
Toronto FC could hardly have found a more difficult way to kick off their 2016 season than away from home against the New York Red Bulls. Toronto has never really been very good against the Red Bulls, and have been even worse against them at Red Bull Arena. Not to mention the fact that this might be the best Red Bulls side they have faced yet.
But, for once, Toronto FC are no pushovers either. Last year they had their best season in club history, reaching the playoffs for the first ever time. This year just getting to the playoffs won't be good enough, the team will be expected to do some damage.
So they will have plenty to prove when they face the New York Red Bulls today, looking to win their third season opener in a row. In 2014 Jermain Defoe scored two goals and they took down Seattle Sounders away from home, last year it was Jozy Altidore who stole the show in a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
If Toronto FC can grab a win today, it would be their first in a month as the end of preseason did not go so well for the club results wise. But all bets are off when the regular season starts and the stakes are raised significantly.
Key to the Match: Composure at the Back
Nothing has changed about the New York Red Bulls, they are still going to play the same high press system that gave teams fits in 2015. Toronto FC are going to have to counter this, and maintaining composure at the back is going to be incredibly important.
Thats where offseason additions like Steven Beitashour become so important, whereas the club struggled to find an outlet on the right side of the field last season they will have a very capable one this year. Being able to break the New York Red Bulls press in a variety of ways, balls out wide to the fullbacks, midfielders dropping back to name a few, will be crucial to breaking the press. It starts at the back.
Toronto FC: Irwin, Morrow, Perquis, Moor, Beitashour; Johnson, Bradley, Osorio; Lovitz, Endoh, Giovinco
Bench: Roberts, Hagglund, Morgan, Williams, Cheyrou, Delgado, Babouli
New York Red Bulls: Robles, Lawrence, Baah, Zubar, Zizzo, Kljestan, McCarthy, Felipe, Sam, Grella, Wright-Phillips
Location: Harrison, New Jersey
Kick-Off: 1:30 PM Eastern
SB Nation Opposition Blog: OnceAMetro.com
Available TV: TSN
Available Streaming: TSN Go
Available Radio: TSN 1050 Radio
For listings in other countries check on LiveSoccerTV.com