Toronto FC (7W-5D-7L), 26 points, third place Eastern Conference) vs. Red Bull New York (9W-4D-7L) 31 points, second place in East)
New York lead the series 5-4-1
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Second place in the Eastern Conference is at stake, from Toronto’s perspective. Coming into a key home and home set with second-place New York, the Reds had an opportunity to close to within two points with a win last week.
However, Toronto fell 1-0 at Red Bull Arena on a goal by Joel Lindpere and are now down five points again must win this “six-pointer” to have a chance of securing second place and a guaranteed playoff seed. A New York win would move the Red Bulls within three points of Columbus for first in the conference.
VIDEO: August 11, 2010: New York 1-0 Toronto.
TFC are brimming with confidence following their upset win over two-time CONCACAF Champions League finalists Cruz Azul Tuesday in Toronto. Facing injuries and the Group A favorite, Toronto weren’t given much of a chance to win. But the Reds responded well playing what some say was their best half of the season, taking the play to the Mexican side and jumping out to a two-goal lead after 45 minutes.
Mista had his best game in Reds uniform, scoring a goal and figuring in on the first goal from Martin Saric, who returned from injury. Starting strike tandem Chad Barrett and Maicon Santos are doubtful, so Mista and O’Brian White may again fill in to help Toronto maintain their undefeated record at home. This is TFC’s second game of four in 11 days that include two MLS games and two CCL matches.
New York Red Bulls
The Red Bulls fell to the Los Angeles Galaxy last weekend before a Red Bull Arena sellout crowd of 25,000 in a battle of teams with famous Designated Players. Though Galaxy DP David Beckham didn’t play, the game still resembled a rock star-like atmosphere with another Red Bulls DP, defender Rafa Márquez, making his home debut.
Despite the loss, New York are still playing well with only one loss in their last four league matches and have an opportunity to put a firm hold on second place, while eying a run at first. Both Thierry Henry and Márquez are fighting injury and fitness, but should be ready to go against Toronto. Henry’s play will be a key to reverse an offensive drought that has seen the Red Bulls score just four goals in their last seven matches.
Heroes & Villains
Nana Attakora vs. Thierry Henry: The 21-year-old Attakora played the striker position in youth soccer and admired Henry for his offensive prowess. In his first opportunity to defend the former French National Team star, the youngster held his own keeping the former FC Barcelona and Arsenal striker off the scoresheet.
Attakora learned much about a striker’s mentality from covering Henry and his ability to apply that and his positional sense to keep Henry at bay will improve Toronto’s chances of winning this critical game.
Stat that makes you go “Hmm"
Toronto are undefeated at BMO Field in 2010 in MLS, Nutrilite Canadian Championship and CONCACAF Champions league play with a record of 10-0-4 overall.