Toronto FC heads into the weekend needing a win over the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia Union on Saturday (4 p.m. ET) in order to have a shot at making the playoffs.
The Reds currently sit in eighth place in the conference with 31 points and would need victories in the season’s final three games to qualify for one of the wildcard berths.
It’s a tough task however, as the four spots are given to the teams with the most points regardless of conference. The first three seeds in both the east and west receive an automatic bid.
Coach Aron Winter thinks there is no reason to panic and that the team should move forward without putting too much emphasis on one game.
“[We have to approach this game] like every game that we’ve had before,” Winter told the team’s website.
Perhaps more important for the Reds in the coming weeks is what may happen with their one game remaining in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Toronto shares second spot in its group with FC Dallas, with next Tuesday’s game in Texas deciding who will move on with Pumas UNAM.
Goalkeeper Milos Kocic spoke with the team’s website about the last meeting against Dallas and remains confident about the club’s chances.
“[Last game] was a tight game. They beat us, but they weren’t dominating,” he said. “We had our chances and we didn’t [capitalize on them].
“I’m convinced we will do very well against Dallas. We’re a better team than we used to be.”
The club’s focus still rests on Saturday’s game in Philadelphia, however.
Even with the odds stacked against them, some players are using the remaining games as a platform to keep their jobs and get a kick-start for next season.
“You want to end the season on a positive note,” forward Ryan Johnson said. “Put a good memory in the coaches’ minds when it comes to the off-season and things they want to do.”
Johnson also said that Toronto can make the game against Philadelphia competitive, regardless of the outcome and the stakes.