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Preview: Toronto FC hosts Eastern Conference leaders, the New England Revolution

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The Reds are in search of their first win in three.

MLS: New York City FC at Toronto FC Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Despite losing just one of their last seven MLS games, Toronto FC are in dire need of three points as they approach the business end of the season. The Reds came from 2-0 down to salvage a point against NYCFC in their last match, but with over half of the campaign now in the books, the wins need to come sooner rather than later.

Up next for Javier Perez and co is a visit from the current Eastern Conference leaders, the New England Revolution. Bruce Arena’s men sit 10 points clear at the top with five wins and a draw in their last six. The last team to beat them you ask? Toronto FC.

Kickoff for this clash is set for 8:00 pm EST at BMO Field, with the game available to watch live on TSN.

With two wins, four draws and one defeat in their last seven, TFC have dropped 11 points to fall back to the bottom of the East. The Reds now have the worst record in all of MLS, but sit just nine points off of the playoff spots with 16 games left to play.

Toronto’s fighting spirit was ignited against NYCFC, and following a dogged second half performance last weekend, a tenacious and persistent 90 minutes will be much needed against the Revolution.

As for TFC’s upcoming guests, goals from Matt Polster and Gustavo Bou secured a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union in their latest encounter. The Revolution has not lost on the road since June 27th against FC Dallas, while Toronto remains undefeated at BMO Field since returning to Canada just under a month ago.

In terms of TFC’s team news, Ayo Akinola remains a long term absentee with a torn ACL. Chris Mavinga and Dom Dwyer are both questionable, while Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty has been ruled out due to an undisclosed issue. Auro Jr, who has not featured since the 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls on July 21st, was an unused substitute last weekend and could be in line for a return against New England.

Despite training alone this week, Alejandro Pozuelo is indeed expected to play barring a setback.

For the Revolution, Carles Gil (muscle tissue) and Luis Caicedo (lower body) are both unavailable, while Jon Bell is questionable.

On the goalscoring front, Akinola and Jonathan Osorio remain TFC’s joint-top scorers with three each, but the Reds have seen 16 different members of their squad get on the scoresheet in MLS.

Bou is not only the top scorer for New England, but also for the entire league. The Argentine has bagged 11 strikes and three assists so far this season and has firmly established himself as one of MLS’s key danger men. 11 different players have found the back of the net for the Revolution, including Canadian men’s international, Tajon Buchannan.

Saturday’s clash will be the 35th meeting in history between Toronto and New England. TFC’s 3-2 win over the Revolution in early July was their 10th overall, but the Reds still sit three behind New England’s total win tally. Sebastian Giovinco is the matchup’s all-time top scorer with seven, while Gil is the top scoring player currently signed to either club with three.

Another win over New England would be the perfect catalyst for TFC to truly to kick on and move towards the top seven, and with an inspiring performance against NYCFC to piggyback off of, the Reds will look to prove their critics wrong and firmly begin their playoff push in the second half of the 2021 MLS campaign.