For TFC, it all comes down to 1 game

Toronto FC will travel to New York Saturday night (7:30 p.m. ET) to face the Red Bulls with their playoff lives in the balance.  With 39 points, Toronto (10-10-9) is in a four-way tie with the New England Revolution (10-10-9), FC Dallas, and D.C. United (9-8-12) for the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Colorado Rapids sit one point ahead.

Meanwhile, the Red Bulls (4-19-6) are dead last in the MLS and will be playing in their final game at Giants Stadium. The team will be playing out of its new Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., next season.

Wins by Dallas (11-12-6), and the Colorado Rapids (10-9-10) would eliminate Toronto.

The soccer club’s best chance of qualifying by beating New York, then hope for either Dallas or Colorado to lose.

However, if the Reds remain tied with its three foes when the regular season concludes Sunday night, Toronto would advance after collecting the most points in its head-to-head matchups.

Toronto coach Chris Cummins stressed the importance of not simply relying on other teams to help the franchise earn its first-ever post-season berth.

“We need to take care of business ourselves,” Cummins said.

“We’re not going to talk about it too much before we go into the game. Once we get the result, you’re going to sit back and look at the results and hope one or two go for you.”

TFC leads the all-time series 4-3-1, and defeated the Red Bulls twice this season when the teams met in June.

Toronto is coming off a 1-0 victory against Real Salt Lake on Oct. 17. Team captain Jim Brennan scored the game winner. Before then, the club went 1-3-3 in its last seven games.

Against Real Salt Lake, TFC keeper Brian Edwards earned the clean sheet during his second straight start while replacing the injured Stefan Frei.

Cummins indicated he will give Edwards the start Saturday even though Frei practised on Thursday.

“I’m not going to take Brian out because he has come in and done very well,” Cummins said. “It would send the wrong message if I take him out now.”

New York hasn’t won since Aug. 30 and has gone 0-3-2 in its last five contests. After a road loss to Real Salt Lake on Oct. 14, the Red Bulls became the third team in MLS history to go winless away from home in a season, posting an unflattering 0-13-2 record.

Only the 2003 Los Angeles Galaxy (0-9-6) and 2005 Real Salt Lake (0-14-2) have completed that dubious feat.

Saturday’s game won’t be a cakewalk for Toronto, which has also done poorly on the road ( 2-7-5).

Forward Fuad Ibrahim (groin) and Frei (dislocated finger) are listed as questionable for Toronto, while defender Marvell Wynne (quad) is doubtful.

New York will be without defenders Kevin Goldthwaite (adductor surgery) and Carlos Mendes (hip surgery), and forward John Wolyniec (ankle surgery).

About this article

By: Iain Colpitts
Posted: Oct 23 2009 6:47 pm
Filed under: Soccer Sports