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Match Preview: Toronto FC Kick Off Crucial Homestand With Match Against DC United

A number of factors combine to make this one of the biggest games of the season for Toronto FC.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After a tough week on the road, Toronto FC is coming home today to face DC United. The match marks the start of their second four-game homestand of the year. It's a stretch where Toronto will be looking for maximum points, and questions will be asked if they don't come close.

It is also a crucial game for the MLS standings, as United currently sit in 7th place in the MLS Eastern Conference, two points behind Toronto FC. Not only would a win for Toronto keep DC from passing them in the standings, it could also see them pass rival Montreal Impact into fourth place.

That makes this game incredibly crucial to Toronto FC's season, as must win as a non-playoff clinching regular season match can be considered. The club could really use a huge boost going into a homestand that will go a long way towards determining where Toronto ends up when all is said and done.

If that wasn't enough to underline the importance of this game, how about making the fanbase forget about last Saturday? That's when Toronto FC lost to 9-man San Jose Earthquakes 2-1, easily their worst defeat of the season.

The team has now had a week, and some much-needed rest, to put that result behind them. But they cannot fully do that unless they get a decisive win today against DC.

Toronto will also have some reinforcements for this match, which will help their weary legs as well. Jozy Altidore is finally expected to make his return after being an unused sub last week against the San Jose Earthquakes. The club is smartly not rushing him back from injury, but he will likely see his first minutes of action since May in today's match.

A mid-week signing also means that Tosaint Ricketts will be available for this match. Having already trained with Toronto FC for several weeks. the hope is that he will fit right into the lineup and give the club another attacking threat.

They could sure use that right now, as the goals have completely dried up. Toronto has scored four times in their last four games, making it no surprise that they have only won once in that stretch.

Luckily for them, DC United doesn't present a huge threat up front either. Only the Chicago Fire has a worse offence in MLS, as a DC United team that has been teetering of mediocrity for years appears to have finally reached it. Like Toronto, however, they gained some scoring this week by acquiring Patrick Mullins.

DC comes into this match winless in their last three matches, and having only won once on the road all year. Toronto FC have already beat DC United once this season, 1-0 at RFK Stadium on a goal from Sebastian Giovinco.

Projected Starting XI: