One week after earning the franchise’s first-ever road victory at Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium, the New York Red Bulls return home to Red Bull Arena for a 7:00 PM kick off against Toronto FC.
Saturday’s match marks the third and final time this season the Red Bulls face TFC, having recorded a 2-1 win on April 27, and a 0-0 draw on July 20. To date, New York remains unbeaten in nine straight vs. Toronto.
Although the Red Bulls continue to battle for the top spot in the eastern conference, currently locked in a three-way tie for first with the Montreal Impact and Sporting Kansas City, the same cannot be said of Toronto FC. With 23 points off a 4-13-11 record, the 10th place Canadian side is far removed from the playoff bubble. Similar to a number of teams at this point in the season, Toronto heads into this one with pride on the line.
Earlier, in this week’s What to Watch For, we talked briefly about the Red Bulls’ need to ensure they will take no team lightly. Midfielder Dax McCarty reaffirmed that very concern after Friday's training session.
"They're a tough team. Because they're obviously out of the playoffs and they have nothing to lose," McCarty said. "They're kind of a team that wants to play spoiler."
Outside of the aforementioned three-way tie, the next four clubs remain in a close-knit race as well. Philadelphia’s 39 points has them in fourth place, just two points over the New England Revolution’s 37 point total in the last of the five available playoff slots. Right behind the Revs we have last week’s opponent, the Houston Dynamo, also with 37 points, and the Oct.27 opponent, the Chicago Fire, with 36 points in seventh.
So, in the grand scheme of things, this is a perfect opportunity for the Red Bulls to seize three points in the standings and open up that lead over the rest of the pack.
"A team like this is always the most dangerous," McCarty said. "We're at home, we're going to be expected to win and get three points. And with the eastern conference as tight as it is, we'd like to separate ourselves a little more from the teams around us."
The Red Bulls and Toronto FC kick off Saturday at 7:00 PM on MSG. Get your tickets now at Red Bulls Ticket Central, or call 877.RB.SOCCER.
Saturday's match also marks the first of two straight at Red Bull Arena, as New York takes on FC Dallas on Sept. 22 at 5:00 PM. All fans in attendance will receive a free T-shirt, thanks to our friends at Prudential. Get tickets now to what will without a doubt be another great match at Red Bull Arena.