Home is back in sight for Toronto FC, in a number of different ways. They wrap up their three-game road trip today, with an eye on returning home in first place to meet their rival Montreal Impact. Including that match, they play six of their final eight games of the season at BMO Field.
However, Toronto FC will also be thinking about how close they are to securing a first ever home playoff game at the stadium. With each win, the club inches closer towards home field advantage. If they finish first in the conference, they could even skip the first round of the playoffs.
Before their homecoming, however, Toronto FC does battle with Orlando City SC in a match that could secure them an elusive spot at the top of the conference. Here are three stories to watch for in this match.
A big match for the home side
Toronto FC will need to be up for this match, because Orlando has been talking about how it is all week. Beating one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference would be a real rallying point for a team who has had very few of them this season. It would be a good way to start what will be a challenging playoff push.
Orlando currently sits in 7th in the East, one spot outside of the playoffs. They are tied on points with DC United, but with only five wins this season lose out on the tiebreak. That's why picking up three points consistently is going to be vital for them down the stretch, especially at home, if they want to secure a first ever playoff appearance.
Toronto's Road Record
If Toronto FC can win tonight, it will be their fifth road victory of the season, a club record. While that isn't overly impressive, they would get some extra credit for doing it during a season where nobody in the league, especially the east, seems to know how to win away from home.
Good road form can only help Toronto FC when they make the playoffs, as getting good results away from home in the postseason will be especially crucial this year. Saturday's game as Philadelphia was undoubtedly their best on the road all season, so how they build off that result will be interesting.
This match comes during a difficult stretch for both Toronto FC and Orlando City SC. Orlando has a big match of the weekend against New York City FC and also played this past weekend. They are fairly healthy, but players like Kevin Molino who have been dealing with injuries lately may be rested tonight. This past weekend's trip to Colorado, in particular, will weigh heavy on the players.
With this being Toronto FC's third road match in a row, they are in a similar boat. In a hot Orlando environment, they may choose to rest some of their key players for this weekend's match against the Montreal Impact. That could include any of the recent injury returnees: Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Will Johnson.
Toronto FC: Bono; Williams, Moor, Hagglund; Delgado, Chapman, Bradley, Osorio, Lovitz; Ricketts, Giovinco
Subs: Roberts, Morrow, Zavaleta, Johnson, Endoh, Altidore, Hamilton
Orlando City SC: Bendik; Alston, Hines, Redding, Boden; Nocerino, Rocha; Molino, Garcia, Kaka; Larin
Venue: Citrus Bowl Orlando, Florida
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Eastern
SB Nation Opposition Blog: The Mane Land
TV: TSN 4
Streaming: TSN Go