Toronto FC can guarantee their second-ever berth in the MLS playoffs by beating New York Red Bulls at BMO Field on Sunday.
The Reds are closing in on an opportunity to put their first, and so far only, postseason game - a 3-0 humbling at the hands of the Montreal Impact - behind them by challenging for top spot in the Eastern Conference and the Supporters’ Shield.
They are also likely to bring a playoff fixture to Toronto for the first time by finishing in the top four in the east.
The chance to go five points clear of the Red Bulls, currently second in the conference, with a game in hand will probably serve as greater motivation for TFC this weekend than securing their playoff spot, which is all but an inevitability at this point. It would certainly represent a fine achievement, though, to have qualification wrapped up with five games remaining.
They could even do it with a draw if two of the following outcomes also occur, per MLS Press Box:
- D.C. United win or tie vs. Chicago Fire on Friday
- Orlando City tie or lose vs. Columbus Crew SC on Saturday
- New England Revolution tie or lose vs. Montreal Impact on Saturday
You would fancy Orlando to beat Columbus, but D.C. are one point out of the top six and fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive and New England have not won on the road since June 18.