Toronto FC: What they need to do to finish off the Red Bulls

HARRISON, NJ - MARCH 6: Sebastian Giovinco
HARRISON, NJ - MARCH 6: Sebastian Giovinco /

Toronto FC traveled to Red Bull Arena for the first leg of the playoffs against the New York Red Bulls. Now they head back to BMO Field with a couple of goals in the bag.

It was not easy. However, Toronto FC put themselves in a good position to move on in the MLS playoffs with a 2-1 on the road against New York City FC.

Victor Vasquez started the scoring early on with a beautiful take off of a rebound from Jozy Altidore. Just when you thought the game wasn’t going to end well after a tough penalty call against TFC, Sebastian Giovinco proved his brilliance in the free-kick department once again. The Reds earned that crucial advantage with the one goal victory in the event there is a draw at home.

The series now heads back to Toronto, where fans will hope New York will be sent home packing. The Reds only have a one goal advantage over the Bulls at the moment. What needs to be done to seal the deal for Toronto FC?

Use what you have, don’t focus on what you’ve lost

Both Victor Vasquez and Drew Moor were subbed in the first leg with sustained injuries. Greg Vanney provided an update on the status to Sportsnet at the club’s recent training session:

"“Both have [improved] since the game, and are feeling better. I think we’re [listing] them as questionable right now. In talking to them today, they definitely have made progress, which is a good sign,” Vanney said."

If the two aren’t ready for the second leg in Toronto, then both the club and the fans shouldn’t worry. One of the greatest luxuries this team has is the depth of the squad.

Both Jonathan Osorio and Nick Hagglund have been very good in stepping in to help TFC to victory. Add Tosaint Ricketts to the mix, and the Reds contain a very solid bench.

Plus, Giovinco and Altidore can’t be forgotten up top. They both had amazing performances in the first leg, something they’ve been accustomed to all season long. The Reds feature players like Michael Bradley and Marky Delgado, who shine in the midfield at BMO Field.

The magic of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore

It seems like a printed narrative at this point. Both Altidore and Giovinco are the foundation of this club, and they should be used effectively against New York.

Giovinco is a guaranteed goal scorer when he earns a free-kick. The Atomic Ant currently has 144 free-kick goals, only Lionel Messi has been able to eclipse 100 free-kicks out of all the players in the world.

Seba is known for being clutch in the playoffs. His eight points (four goals, four assists) in just six postseason games last year prove he’s among the best in the most crucial situations.

To add to the dangerous attack is Altidore, who has looked extremely motivated ever since the United States got knocked out of World Cup contention. Altidore seemed to embrace the boos he was receiving at Red Bull Arena, as each touch provided a new moment of brilliance.

Altidore is still looking for his point in the playoffs, but we should expect that to come in the second leg. Jozy notched five goals in six postseason games in the previous year, and there should be no difference here. Given the form the American is in, I fully expect him to finish off a shaky defensive team in New York.

Take advantage of BMO Field

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The Red Bulls had their chance at home, now the play shifts to BMO Field. It should be a packed and motivated house in Toronto, as TFC look to get back into the finals.

The 13-3-1 record the Reds have at home is not easy to overlook. The 26,000 plus that average into BMO Field certainly help contribute to that impressive home record.

Toronto FC now have two crucial away goals that they’re bringing back home. It’s why the away goal rule is so crucial, especially for Toronto. Everything adds up for TFC.

If the Reds get the crowd into it early and score just one goal, it could be all but over for the Red Bulls. As we’ve seen this season, it usually doesn’t stop at one goal for Toronto FC, especially at home.

Next: Toronto FC earn crucial first leg win in New York

What does Toronto FC have to do to finish off New York? Any players stand out to you? Will the potential absence of Moor and Vasquez affect Toronto’s chances? Let us know in the comments below!