Sunday, the final game of the 2022 MLS regular season, will see Toronto FC travel to face the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Decision Day means a lot of different things to different teams. 

For some it is their chance to shore up their playoff positioning, for others it will determine whether or not they reach the postseason at all, for others it is the end of one season and the beginning of the next.

“It's that time of the year where the last games of the season mean a lot for all the clubs for different reasons,” said Mark-Anthony Kaye on Friday. “For us, it's a huge way to end the season on a high note going into the offseason and continuing to progress in the way we want to, to prepare properly for next year.”

TRAINING SOUND | Mark-Anthony Kaye - October 7, 2022

Eliminated from contention mid-September, TFC must put aside that disappointment and focus on what lies ahead.

“Mixed emotions for the group,” levelled Richie Laryea. “We want to be able to continue playing and want to be in the postseason, so obviously that's disappointing on our end, but also it’s a very big opportunity to play against a good opponent and show that we can build and look forward to next season.”

“[Philadelphia are] a team that's done really well, been one of the top teams in the league,” he continued. “So it'd be a good way for us to show that were up for it and ready for the new season.”

With LAFC clinching the Supporters’ Shield last weekend, the Union are focused on ensuring they take top spot in the Eastern Conference. A two-point lead ahead of CF Montreal sees them in position to take the first seed into the playoffs, but anything less than a victory could open the door for Montreal to overtake.

“We know it's an important game for Philly, it's an important game for us: the last game of the season, the last taste of football for this year,” said Kaye. “So you want to make sure that you go into it with the right mentality.”

“We understand the intensity is going to be high because Philly have some important factors with the game, but, at the end of the day, we want to win the game and we know we're going to have to match their intensity,” he continued. “There's a lot of guys here who want to prove themselves and want to finish the season on a high note.”

It’s been a tough year for TFC. 

An unprecedented amount of turnover in the offseason, the wait for Lorenzo Insigne to arrive and then another big influx of players midyear with the arrivals of Kaye, Lareya, Federico Bernardeschi, and Domenico Criscito. 

On many days they were close to where they needed to be; on others they weren’t. Sunday is one last chance to show their mettle before the winter break.

TRAINING SOUND | Bob Bradley - October 7, 2022

“For the most part I still look at our season and at the amount of time in games where we were either tied or down a goal or up a goal,” said Bob Bradley. “That's been a large part of our season.”

“There's been a few moments along the way where we let something slip – the Orlando game felt pretty bad, right?” he added, referencing the 4-0 defeat that mathematically eliminated Toronto. “The expectation for everybody is: You want to be a good player? You want to be a good team? This is how you show it.”

Philadelphia enter the weekend one of the form teams in the second half of the season – they have won 11 of their last 15 games – and have done so in some style, averaging more than three goals per game over that stretch, scoring four or more on seven occasions.

“They've had a great season, they’re undefeated at home, they lost 4-0 in the last game to Charlotte, and in order to assure themselves of being first place, they need to win,” said Bradley. “They have their way of playing. They're a team that plays off of loose balls and second balls, they're not a team that's worried too much about possession. They're a team that's direct in certain moments.”

“[Forwards Mikael] Uhre and [Julian] Carranza have had really good years, they're dangerous, they have good movement. [Daniel] Gazdag has had an excellent year playing underneath them. Their system, they all understand,” he outlined. “Andre Blake has continued to be important, one of the best goalkeepers in the league, makes important saves. And on the last day of the year, coming off a loss, with all the excitement that they have for the playoffs, that they're going to be flying.”

That 4-0 defeat last weekend away to Charlotte FC will have Jim Curtin's side even more amped up for Sunday. Toronto must be ready for that challenge.

“You always want to see a team that's ready to compete. You want to see guys that, at the end of a difficult year, still have the mentality to step on the field, do the things that have been worked on all the year,” said Bradley. “And it's important against a team like Philadelphia, still playing for first place, a team that has had an excellent season, they're really good at home, you’ve got to have guys that are ready.”

“Training today was creating a little bit of a picture of what Philadelphia plays. They’re a Red Bull-type team: pressing, a little bit chaos, going forward very quickly. You can't show up there and just think that it's going to be an easy game where you can slow things down and control the pace of the game. It's going to go fast,” he cautioned. “The expectation is that we can get the right group on the field and have a good way to go after things.”