UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Toronto FC may be from the thick of things in the Eastern Conference’s tight playoff race, but that is not stopping the New York Red Bulls from entering their weekend match against the Canadian side with a cautious approach.
The Red Bulls will host Toronto FC at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night (7 pm ET, streamed LIVE online) and three points are needed in order for New York to alleviate some of the building pressure that has come as a result of winning just once in their last five games. But they know that Toronto will be no pushover, despite what their 5-18-7 record indicates this late in the year or how bad they have looked at times this season.
“Toronto have got nothing to lose,” Red Bulls Designated Player Tim Cahill told reporters on Thursday. “They’re coming and they’re going to throw the kitchen sink at us. They’re going to want to beat New York at home and that’s an even bigger incentive.”
The Bengtson goal that should've counted
In addition to solidifying their spot in the postseason, the Red Bulls will need to do away with a troubling trend that doesn't seem to end: leaking early goals. Captain Thierry Henry, who was suspended by the league for the match against New England, is concerned about his team's inability to correct the issue.
“It’s something I’ve been saying since the beginning, but things are not changing,” Henry said. “We should’ve been 1-0 down against New England after four minutes. That goal was not offside. I don’t see anyone talking about [it]. We should’ve been down [early] another time.”
Henry, who had no comment about his suspension for an incident late in the loss to Sporting KC, added that he is not sure what to expect from Toronto FC despite having watched them play on Tuesday night in the CONCACAF Champions League. What he does know, however, is that the Red Bulls are in for a tough game.
“They’re going to make it difficult,” Henry said. “They’re very direct, although I saw them playing in the CONCACAF game and they were not playing that long. They were playing the ball on the ground and passing the ball around.
“Everything is down to us, no disrespect to Toronto. But if we give them the space and the time to play well at the beginning, they are going to punish us like all the teams that punished us when we give them space. Simple as that.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.