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Toronto FC Face Difficult Test Tonight Against Road-Weary Real Salt Lake

It may well be the toughest test of their four-game homestand, which has gone perfectly so far.

Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Just four days ago, Toronto FC made waves around the league with its second straight three-goal victory, this time, 3-0 over the Columbus Crew. The win pushed Toronto up to third in the Eastern Conference, and only six points from the top.

The team could make another big push today in that regard, as they meet Real Salt Lake at BMO Field. It may be the toughest game of their current four-game homestand, which ends this weekend with a match against the New England Revolution.

For one, this team has to be at least a little burnt out. Yes, there have been some returning faces injected into the lineup lately, but the young midfield especially has played many more minutes than expected.

They will have to step up to the plate again today, however, as both Michael Bradley and Benoit Cheyrou have been ruled out for tonight's match. Cheyrou is likely to play on the weekend, while Bradley is more likely to be involved next week.

That means they will have to once again turn to Marky Delgado, Jay Chapman, Jonathan Osorio and Tsubasa Endoh in the middle of the park. The foursome was the highlight of Toronto FC's performance against the Columbus Crew, but will have to be even better in their sequel.

Real Salt Lake is a significantly better opponent than the Columbus Crew, and will be a big handful for Toronto tonight. Salt Lake currently sit fifth in the Western Conference, with four more points than Toronto. They won their last match in dramatic fashion over the Philadelphia Union, and haven't lost in their last few matches.

They are also one of the best road teams in the league, with four wins away from home. Only New York City FC has been better this season as the visiting team.

The players to watch on Real Salt Lake include ex-Toronto FC striker Joao Plata, a talented Ecuadorian player in the mould of Sebastian Giovinco. He scored a world class goal in the win over the Union. Yura Movsisyan is the other player to watch, as he is their leading scorer with seven goals.

Real Salt Lake has been about average in the league both in terms of goals scored and conceded, as they have 32 in both categories.

There will be pressure on both teams to pick up points tonight, as Real Salt Lake is only five points into the playoffs while Toronto FC is only four. A win for Toronto could see them move up into second place in the conference, while the same for RSL could see them go as high as third in the West.

Projected Lineup: