Toronto, New York tilt a must-win for both teams
Toronto, ON – The Major League Soccer playoff picture is taking shape with approximately a month remaining in the season, but there are still plenty teams that could potentially qualify.
Two of those teams in contention meet on Saturday as Toronto FC hosts Red Bull New York at BMO Field.
New York holds the final wild card spot with 39 points on the season, while Toronto is in a far more desperate position, sitting in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 30 points.
Toronto must win all three of its remaining games, in addition to other results going its way, in order to clinch a postseason berth.
After winning two straight, Toronto hit a speed bump on Saturday, suffering a 3-0 loss at Chivas USA.
"We were a little bit flat [Saturday]," said TFC head coach Aron Winter. "I think also the problem is the last weeks, we played against very strong opponents and all the travels, and we don't have a big roster. But it's not good enough, we can't bring every week the same performance that we have done [Saturday]."
The Red Bulls are coming off of a vital 2-0 win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday, with goals coming on a solo-effort from Dane Richards and a penalty kick from Luke Rodgers.
According to head coach Hans Backe, the Red Bulls must approach the last few games with the same mentality as the clash against Portland.
"With four games to go everyone is very aware of what it means," said Backe. "As we said before Portland, every game is a cup final now."
New York is well aware that with four games to go, holding on to the final playoff spot is a must. Midfielder Dax McCarty stresses that taking maximum points is crucial if the Red Bulls are to accomplish their goals.
"For us, it's going to be about the New York Red Bulls and how we perform on a daily basis," McCarty said. "And then obviously when we have those games it's all about getting three points from hereon out."
The Red Bulls thumped Toronto in their last meeting, topping the Canadian side 5-0 at Red Bull Arena on July 6. Rodgers, Thierry Henry, and Joel Lindpere each scored once while Juan Agudelo provided a brace to complete the rout.