Toronto FC probably feel like they should be in a better position than the one they're currently in. Wednesday night's second leg of the Eastern Conference Championship against Columbus (7:30 pm ET; FS1 in the US | TSN1/4/5 & TVAS in Canada) is essential a 90-minute, one-off, win-or-stay-home situation for the Reds.

That's because Crew SC shut them out in Leg 1, and that means Columbus head into this game needing only a scoring draw – i.e., any draw in which goals are scored – to advance. Such is the power is the road goal in this current format.

My guess is that both teams will like their chances. Let's dive in:

TFC's tactical plan: Push the wingbacks forward to draw defenders away

In their last eight games across all competitions, a span stretching back to September 20, the Reds are just 3-3-2 with a dead even goal differential. So what's changed?

A few things. First and foremost, they took their foot off the accelerator a little bit after blazing through the late summer en route to the most commanding Supporters' Shield win in league history. Now they can't find that gas pedal again.

Second, teams have had a full year to scout TFC's players, tactics and formation. That's dulled some of the effectiveness of the 3-5-2, and has forced Greg Vanney to tinker a little bit.

And third, because of that tinkering they're simply not getting their wide players forward like they did earlier in the season. The Reds are best when Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore are clicking with Victor Vazquez behind them pulling the strings, but those guys are likelier to click if the wingbacks are, at the very least, making life difficult for defenses off the ball.

Watch Raheem Edwards' run here:

Giovinco punishes Pirlo in the space TFC create | Armchair Analyst

There is a danger in pushing that far forward as a wingback, since you risk stranding yourself and allowing a break-out in the other direction. Given that, I understand why TFC have played it a little more conservative in recent weeks.

But they're home now, and it's time to go back to what got them here in the first place. They scored 74 goals this season, less than half of which (31) came from Giovinco and Altidore. It's time to get back to creating the good stuff for the Reds.

Columbus tactical plan: Keep the fullback pinned and the wingers high

The strength of the back four in the modern game is that fullbacks often overlap and become ad hoc attackers. Few in MLS have lived by this ethos more than Crew SC over the last few years.

The original strength of the back four, though, was that you put four actual factual defenders out on the field. I'm not advocating for that exactly – we will likely see Harrison Afful at right back and Hector Jimenez at left back, two guys who can get forward – but I just don't think they'll be overlapping all that much. Rather they'll be asked to stay deep and connected, then outlet high up the wings to Pedro Santos and Justin Meram.

Columbus usually love to play central, then let Wil Trapp do the hard distribution work. They should skip that and instead distribute the ball linearly in an attempt to ignite the fast break. That's the best way to catch a wingback out, and it almost worked in Leg 1:

CHANCE: Justin Meram runs in on goal but plays the wrong ball

Crew SC's ideal is a situation where Santos and Meram are running directly at that TFC backline. It might mean more of a support role for Federico Higuain than he's used to, but given the stakes of the game and the lay of the land, it makes sense for Gregg Berhalter to tinker with his team's tactical identity at least a little bit.

X-Factor Part 1: Set pieces

If Giovinco's standing over a direct kick 25 yards from goal, you're probably pretty worried about that if you're wearing Canary.

On the flip side, TFC don't really have the size to match up with either Josh Williams or Jonathan Mensah 1v1 on restarts unless Nick Hagglund is in the game (and I wouldn't expect Hagglund to start).

X-Factor Part 2: Mistakes at the back

Columbus set the world record for most unforced errors in a 4-1 win back on Halloween against New York City FC. How often can you count on this kind of luck?

POST: David Villa cuts through the Crew defense but smashes the woodwork

Williams and Mensah were clean as a whistle in Leg 1, but the Reds didn't really put them under any pressure. Expect that to change in Leg 2, and the Columbus central defense to cough up at least one great look.

Match-up No. 1: Higuain vs. Michael Bradley

Higuain's got to lure Bradley out of that spot in front of the central defense. When he vacates that area you can run at the backline and take TFC off the dribble.

Match-up No. 2: Vazquez vs. Mohammed Abu

Abu is likely to start in place of Artur, who is suspended on yellow card accumulation.

For Crew SC, this is very bad. Abu is a nice enough passer of the ball but his defensive reactions are slow and he doesn't take space away from opposing playmakers. When Vazquez has been afforded that space this year, he has ripped teams apart.

Abu probably has to play his best defensive game of the season for CCSC to win.

What's it all mean?

Toronto FC have played like a .500 team over the past two months, have gone scoreless over two games for the first time all season, and have left this series there for the taking. Columbus absolutely could go out there and get it done, and we've certainly seen TFC come up short at home in win-or-die situations before.

But I just can't see it happening here. The Reds should be able to control this game and get a win.