Finally, we have a game to talk about.
After 10 days off, the international break and the hiring of a new club President, the Reds will take the field on Wednesday night against the New York Red Bulls.
There’s plenty on the line for both teams. With a point TFC can clinch their first playoff berth in franchise history. A point clinches the Eastern Conference for the Red Bulls and a win basically assures Jesse Marsch’s side the supporters shield.
So yea, there’s plenty at stake. “This game, points wise and table wise means a lot,” said Marsch.
The Reds will most likely be without the services of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore due to international duty, though Greg Vanney indicated they could be available off the bench.
Lloyd Sam (Ghana) and Karl Ouimette (Canada) of the Red Bulls are in the same boat. Matt Miazga, the Red Bulls’ impressive centre-back, is with the U.S. U23 team and will miss the match.
Michael Bradley has returned early from the U.S. National Team and is expected to play. That’s a big boost for the Reds ahead of a crucial match under the lights at BMO Field.
Here are three keys to the match
Lessons From Red Bull Arena
The last meeting between these teams took place at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, with the Red Bulls coming away with a 3-0 win.
The Red Bulls dominated the early portion the game by utilizing a high press. TFC struggled to find outlets and found themselves defending more often than not. The strategy was highly effective and left TFC’s forwards on an island up front.
How the Reds deal with Marsch’s tactics this time around will decide the game. The Red Bulls have been strong on the road, recording the second most wins in the league away from home with five.
Defeating The Press
TFC is expecting to see the same high press employed by the Red Bulls in August on Wednesday night. New York is consistent in their approach, meaning Greg Vanney and his coaching staff will have to adapt. The midfield diamond was exploited last time around by Dax McCarty and Felipe throughout the match.
So how do you beat the press?
“You have to show great patience,” said forward Herculez Gomez following training on Tuesday.
“With a team like New York, they’re betting that their frantic pace will out do your frantic pace. You have to not play into that. You’ve got to show patience, keep the ball moving and literally kill the rhythm of their game.”
With that in mind a flat 4-4-2 could be on the docket for the Reds. Getting the ball wide will be important.
Chip On Their Shoulders
The Reds are close to clinching a spot in the playoffs, but nothing is guaranteed. Not in this league.
“We should not feel entitled to anything,” said Gomez. “There are still people out there that are expecting us to have a monster collapse and not make the playoffs. That’s just the reality of things. I think we should play with a huge chip on our shoulders. I think we should not make it a goal to just get into the playoffs but to compete there.”
No matter where TFC has travelled this season they’ve faced the taunts. About how things wouldn’t be different this year, even with the new additions.
Those taunts came at Red Bull Arena, where the team struggled in August. Time for some payback.