Tim Cahill may not have faced Toronto FC yet during the early stages of his MLS career, but the Australian national has seen this type of opponent before.
Toronto, currently holders of a league-worst 5-18-7 record, doesn’t have much to play for in terms of the postseason, but that very thing may be the most dangerous aspect of their game.
“Toronto have got nothing to lose,” Cahill said after Thursday’s training session. “They’re coming and they’re going to throw the kitchen sink at us. They’re going to want to beat New York at home and that’s an even bigger incentive.”
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Simply put, New York is not taking their opponent lightly, especially if they want to edge closer to the top of the Eastern Conference table with a three-point result.
“Everything is down to us, no disrespect to Toronto,” Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry told reporters Thursday. “But if we give them the space and the time to play well at the beginning, they are going to punish us like all the teams that punished us when we give them space. Simple as that.”
In the only other meeting between the two sides this season, the Red Bulls and TFC played to a 1-1 draw on June 30 at BMO Field. Jan Gunnar Solli buried the lone New York goal in the fourth minute, but quickly saw the score draw level two minutes later when Toronto’s Danny Koevermans sent one home past Ryan Meara.
“It’s pride, isn’t it?” Cahill said of Toronto’s drive heading into this weekend’s matchup. “It’s when you put on your jersey. Toronto has to do well for their fans.”
Sure, Toronto may not have a playoff position worth fighting for, but the Red Bulls aren’t expecting their opponent to just lay down and hand over three points. Toronto will come out fighting in Saturday’s 7PM match, kitchen sink and all.
To secure your tickets, visit Red Bulls Ticket Central or call 877.RB.SOCCER. The first 5,000 fans 12 and under through the gates will receive a free Thierry Henry jersey tee (while supplies last).