Toronto FC hosts the Chicago Fire in a massive game on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field.
The Reds currently sit in fifth spot in the Eastern Conference while Chicago is in last place. There is little room for error standings wise, as we approach the end of the 2015 regular season.
Montreal beat the Fire on Wednesday and sit just one point behind the Reds. New York City FC and Orlando both won last weekend and are hot on the heels of sixth place.
Simply put Saturday’s afternoon fixture is a big one for Greg Vanney’s side. Here are three keys to the match.
Giovinco Looks For More
He’s on the cusp of history.
Sebastian Giovinco can set two records on Saturday afternoon. No player in MLS history has accumulated 20 goals and 10 assists in a season. Giovinco, who has 19 goals and 14 assists this year, can become the first with a marker against the Fire.
He can also pass Chris Wondolowski for most combined goals and assists in a season on Saturday.
Jeff Larentowicz and Ty Harden, should they get the start at centre-back, will have their hands full.
No Rest For The Weary
The Fire are coming off a 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night
It was a strange game. Didier Drogba appeared to foul Larentowicz in the box but no call was made. The former Chelsea star nodded home the game’s opening goal moments later.
Chicago, led by interim manager Brian Bliss. managed to battle back via a David Accam equalizer. Still, it wasn’t enough.
“I think it was possibly a mistake on the referee’s side,” said Bliss of the first Montreal goal. “It looked like a foul to me and probably most people in the stands. They have to call it like they see and we kind of have to live with it and we’ve got to still recover from that.”
The Fire rotated their squad quite heavily for the midweek game, with Harry Shipp and Mike Magee on the bench versus Montreal. Expect Shipp to be a major factor against the Reds.
The algorithm is pretty simple. When TFC score first they win games.
The latest indicator of this was last Saturday’s match versus the Colorado Rapids. Sebastian Givoinco’s first goal set the tone for that match and the hope is that will be replicated against the Fire.
“It’s proven to help us a lot [when we score the first goal],” said Vanney before the match versus Colorado.. “We have a lot of strength in the attack and when you get the first goal it forces the opposition to push a little bit, send more numbers forward. That opens up space for Seba, Jozy, Michael and the attacking crew."