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.
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
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.
#TFCLive Pozuelo on the MVP race: "It's good to know that I can be one of the best players in the league ... I scored 9 times, I gave 10 assists, the numbers are there. So I think I played good this year, but like I always said, the most important thing is to win as a group..."— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) November 6, 2020
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?
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.
· Toronto ❤️ And miss you One of the greatest cities to represent as an athlete. Awesome to see homegrown talent Ayo Akinola leaving it all out on the field for @torontofc ⚽️ Keep it going my man #GoalsDriveProgress pic.twitter.com/0q0xzrJMnS— Jose Bautista (@JoeyBats19) November 7, 2020
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?