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3 things to watch for in Sunday’s Toronto FC-New York Red Bulls Decision Day clash

Aside from The Supporters’ Shield race, what are some story lines to keep an eye on this afternoon?

Inter Miami CF v Toronto FC
Toronto FC celebrate in East Hartford after Alejandro Pozuelo scores a go-ahead goal.
(Black - Corbis/Getty Images)

TORONTO, Canada—It’s kind of hard to believe, but we’ve made it to Decision Day—and there’s plenty to look forward to.

Toronto FC, of course, travel to Red Bull Arena to take on the New York Red Bulls in search of three points, while the Philadelphia Union are home to take on the New England Revolution with a chance to clinch the Supporters’ Shield.

But we already know about that narrative.

What else should TFC fans be looking out for Sunday afternoon? Here are three things we’re keeping an eye on.

The Landon Donovan MVP award race

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Toronto FC

Toronto FC midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo is having a season like no other. Heading into Decision Day, the Reds’ No. 10 is leading MLS in goals + assists (19)—one ahead of Los Angeles FC’s Diego Rossi.

Pozuelo also leads the league by a large margin in passes into the penalty area (81 - according to fb ref) and is the only Red to appear in all 22 games so far this season.

The race for the 2020 Landon Donovan MVP award is close, but another strong, clutch performance on Sunday from Pozuelo may just seal the deal for the Spaniard.

Can Akinola maintain the best scoring rate in MLS?

Inter Miami CF v Toronto FC

Alejandro Pozuelo isn’t the only Toronto FC player excelling this season. 20 year old Ayo Akinola is enjoying a breakout campaign, highlighted by his ninth goal of the year in the Reds’ 2-1 win over Inter Miami CF last Sunday.

The well-built striker has been clinical in front of goal and actually leads all of MLS in goals per 90 minutes—0.91 (min. 600 minutes played.) He is also tied with Pozuelo for the team lead in goals.

While he won’t catch Los Angeles FC’s Diego Rossi’s 14 tallies this season, another strike on Sunday will all but guarantee him the best goal scoring rate, an impressive feat on its own.

Can Toronto FC maintain their record-breaking pace?

As Mitchell Tierney elegantly pointed out yesterday, Sunday’s match has implications beyond just the Supporters’ Shield race.

As it stands, Toronto FC are currently on pace for the fourth best season in MLS history (2.04 points per game). In 2017, the Reds amassed 2.03 points per game en route to winning the treble, so a win on Sunday means TFC—in what has been a backwards year—will eclipse that franchise record.

It won’t come easy, however. Even with Jozy Altidore and Jonathan Osorio back in the mix, Toronto FC still need to find a way to overcome an opponent they have fallen the most to in the club’s 13-year history (16 times).

And for their grand prize today, the Supporters’ Shield, they’ll need some a tonne of help. But as Aasim Hashim mentioned in his preview this morning... do you believe in miracles?