The streak stands at six as the Reds head back to Red Bull Arena looking for their second-ever win in Harrison. Here are the Benjamin Moore three keys to the match.
Find a New Focal Point
Sebastian Giovinco will miss out on Friday’s match, and a like-for-like replacement simply doesn’t exist anywhere in the league, let alone on the TFC bench.
Without the Italian, the Reds will have to rely on a different force to drive them forward. Giovinco has been excellent at jumpstarting the attack this season by dropping deeper into the midfield and picking dangerous passes. The onus will now fall to the likes of players like Victor Vazquez, Jay Chapman and Marky Delgado to find those pockets and set up chances for their teammates.
Jozy Altidore and Tosaint Ricketts will surely provide outlets from the midfield; it’s all about finding them in the right areas and setting them up to succeed.
Handle the High Pressure
The Red Bulls have become nearly synonymous with the high press since Jesse Marsch took the helm in New Jersey. Their fast-paced, in-your-face playing style has worked wonders in his first two seasons, as the Red Bulls followed up a Supporters’ Shield run in 2015 with an Eastern Conference regular season title the following season.
The book is certainly out on the home side, and Greg Vanney will surely be concocting ways to beat their vaunted counter press.
For as uncomfortable as their playing style can make opposing teams, it also makes New York quite susceptible on the counter attack. The Red Bulls pride themselves on being a fit and disciplined side, but if the press becomes disjointed, the Reds will have plenty of opportunities to hit out on the break.
The backline will have to deal with the press and avoid turning the ball over in their own third. If they can do that, Toronto’s midfield could find themselves with plenty of space to operate and a chance to carve up the RBNY defence.
Bottle Up BWP
The doubters keep cropping up, but Bradley Wright-Phillips just keeps on scoring.
After a career-year in 2014 alongside Arsenal and France legend Thierry Henry, many believed BWP’s production would fall off without a marquee partner up top.
They were wrong.
The Englishman mmm-blocked out the haters en route to a second Golden Boot in 2016 and continues to be one of the dangerous strikers in MLS. Limiting his influence will be no small task, as Wright-Phillips has burned the Reds before, leading all RBNY players with eight goals against TFC all-time.
There’s no sure-fire way to slow him down, but disrupting midfielder Sacha Kljestan would go a long way towards limiting BWP’s influence on the day. Toronto’s centerbacks will have to be aware of his position at all times, because one chance is all he needs to find the back of the net and change the game.