Few in the Toronto FC camp will care about whether or not the team wins the Trillium Cup today. The trophy is just physical evidence of what many feel to be one of the league's most manufactured rivalries.
However, there is something far more important on the line today when Toronto FC meet their "rival" Columbus Crew at BMO Field: momentum. It is something that Toronto has only had sparingly in what has been a stop and start 2016 season.
This is the second game of a crucial four game home-stand, and one that Toronto will be hoping to pick up maximum points from.
The club has only won consecutive MLS games once, back in April. They have had some very strong performances since then, but have never been able to follow them up in a similar fashion. It's part of the reason that Toronto currently sits fifth in the MLS Eastern Conference, and not higher.
However, none of these wins was quite like this past weekend's 4-1 victory over D.C. United. It was a match where everything seemed to click for Toronto FC, and the team finally looked like the Eastern Conference contender that they have aspired to be all season.
Following that up with another big victory would be huge in helping those aspirations become reality. A win has the potential to see Toronto jump as high as third in the Eastern Conference standings should other results go their way as well.
Their opponent today, however, is trending in the other direction. The Columbus Crew's nightmare season has reached its climax, as the Crew have failed to win in their last eight games, and currently sit second-last in the league. Toronto will see no need to help them back up to their feet.
TFC have struggled to close out the Crew this season, however, and only have a pair of draws to show for the season series so far. That means from a Trillium Cup perspective there is everything to play for tonight, as the winner of this match wins the trophy.
The Crew will be bolstered by the return of star midfielder Frederico Higuain. The Argentine playmaker has been a thorn in Toronto FC's side on more than one occasion, and given the chance could do it again today.
But it is the Crew who need to be truly careful. As aforementioned, Toronto FC was firing on all cylinders last Saturday, and will be looking for more of the same tonight. The return of Jozy Altidore takes the Toronto attack to another gear, and he could be in line for his first start since going down to injury back in May.
More than likely it will be Jordan Hamilton, though, who starts in his place, coach Greg Vanney said that the young Canadian has earned his spot and that Altidore will have to fight for it back. Not to mention the fact that the club will likely be looking to ease Altidore back into action considering what has transpired in the past with his hamstring.
Momentum is not only important from a team perspective, it is important for the offence as well. The team has been among the league's worst at scoring goals this season but exploded for a season-high four last weekend. Keeping up that scoring streak, and the confidence that comes with it, is crucial.