The real season starts tonight for Toronto FC.
They made it clear that setting the record for most points in an MLS season and winning the Supporter’s Shield was merely a bonus. Topping on the cake. The problem is, icing is no good until you actually get the cake.
Toronto’s journey to put their hands on the proverbial cake starts tonight. They’re preparing to take on the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of MLS Cup, Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Although it’s not an elimination game, they’ll be treating it as such. TFC has gotten this far by taking the season one game at a time. It may seem like a cliché, but that’s because there’s truth in those words.
It’s all about focus. Focusing on the task at hand, so the long-term goal stays intact.
For those who don’t know, the semi-finals are played in a two-leg aggregate scoreline. What that means is, over the course of two games, whoever is winning the total score, wins. If the aggregate score is tied, the team with more away goals advances. If the away goals are equal, the teams go into extra time and possibly penalty kicks.
New York will test Toronto tonight. Although the Red Bulls are the sixth seed in the East, they only lost twice all season at Red Bull Arena. Due to the conditions of playing two legs, New York will play tight defensively to make sure that TFC doesn’t score any away goals. The defensive focus of the Red Bulls may prove tough for the Reds.
Historically, Toronto has had trouble when their opponent parks the bus. When the other team forces Toronto to break them down, they become susceptible to the counter-attack. As long as TFC can utilize the creativity of Victor Vazquez and Sebastian Giovinco to score in the final third, they’ll come back to BMO Field with the lead.
Toronto FC is ready to start the next chapter. They’ve taken the season one game at a time all the way to the playoffs. Now it’s time for the next game. The real season starts tonight.