When Toronto FC take to the pitch on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field against Real Salt Lake, they will start the day in 11th place.
By the end of the match, TFC could be in a temporary playoff spot — or eliminated completely.
After squandering second half leads in their last two games, Toronto has no room for error against a squad just as hungry as they are.
“[Salt Lake] need to get something out of the game as well,” Toronto head coach Chris Cummins said. “So it’s going to be open and we’re going to take the game to them and be as aggressive as possible.”
That fast-paced strategy could be aided by the addition of defender Marvell Wynne. The American international missed the last match with a quad injury and is questionable for Saturday.
It will once again be Brian Edwards in goal for TFC, as rookie Stefan Frei is unable to go.
“Just like last week, I’m prepared to go, and yeah it’s a couple of days earlier that I know for sure, but it doesn’t really make a difference to me,” Edwards said.
After spending the entire season backing up both Frei and the released Greg Sutton, Edwards is getting his opportunity when the games matter most.
“We train so hard and the bonus is the games,” Edwards said. “Playing in front of 20,000 at BMO is a thrill.
“As a player it’s what you want, you strive for, and I’m definitely looking forward to doing it again.”
Edwards was moments from a clean sheet last week against San Jose, but a late goal by Cornell Glen ruined the shutout and victory for TFC.
Toronto will also be buoyed by the return of Honduran midfielder Amado Guevara. The veteran returns to Toronto victorious after a 1-0 CONCACAF qualifying win over El Salvador put Honduras in the World Cup.
“Is he not president yet?” joked Cummins about the Honduran captain. “It’s a great achievement.
“He’s an asset to the team. He lives right, he’s a proud man, and I’m sure he has unfinished business here.”
Salt Lake dominated TFC in their last meeting, romping to an easy 3-0 win. While Real has won their last two meetings against Toronto, their career head-to-head numbers are even at two wins and a draw apiece.
TFC has not lost to Salt Lake at home, winning in 2008 and drawing the year before.
In order to win, Toronto will need some offence. Scarborough native Dwayne De Rosario leads the team with 11 goals, already a franchise record.
BMO Field on Saturday will not be kind to those from warmer climates. With temperatures a little below seasonal, it is expected to be seven degrees Celsius and partly cloudy at game time.