The Reds kick off their Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs campaign in New Jersey on Sunday night. Here are the Benjamin Moore three keys to the opener vs. New York Red Bulls.
Proceed with Patience
It can be easy to get caught up in the pomp and circumstance of the playoff season, but as is almost always the case, cooler heads will prevail.
Kicking things off on the road, the Reds need to remain patient at Red Bull Arena. New York will look to put them on the back foot from the offset, but TFC must weather the storm and pick and choose their moments to go forward. While the first leg is an important piece of the puzzle, it is only half of the story.
The next 90 minutes will be played at BMO Field, where the Reds have enjoyed a record-breaking campaign. Staying the course will be important for TFC on the night.
Set Piece Prowess
Dead ball situations have a way of changing games, just ask Sebastian Giovinco.
His proficiency on set pieces has hardly been a secret, but even by his lofty standards, the Italian has been on an absolute tear in 2017. Giovinco has bagged a staggering six goals from direct free kicks and continues to add his all-time MLS-best mark.
While the Red Bulls have yet to score direct from a free kick this season, they do have some tricky set piece plays in their locker. Featuring runners off the ball and diversion with multiple options, TFC’s defence will have to be on their toes and avoid conceding any dangerous looks near the 18-yard box.
Eye on BWP
Since joining the league in 2013, few forwards have been as effective have as Bradley Wright-Phillips.
The Englishman was far from a world-beater during his time in England, but has been a lethal force for the Red Bulls. The son of Arsenal legend Ian Wright already has two Golden Boots to his name (2014, 2016) and is the co-leader in single season goals with 27.
TFC’s backline will need to be mindful of his presence at all times on Sunday night. Wright-Phillips isn’t often one to take defenders on the dribble, but his ability to find pockets in behind the defence has helped him find such success in MLS. Drew Moor, Chris Mavinga and the rest of the Toronto defence will certainly have their hands full on Sunday night.