Reeling Red Bulls brace for white-hot Toronto FC
Mired in their worst form of the season, the New York Red Bulls will be facing the toughest task possible on Friday as they hope to snap a three-game losing streak against what is presently Major League Soccer's hottest club.
Toronto FC (7-1-4) pays a visit to Red Bull Arena riding a six-game winning streak that has seen it vault to the top of the MLS Eastern Conference and overall standings.
That poses a formidable opponent to the Red Bulls, who have conceded eight goals in their losing run and have only scored once.
"We always have hope when we play at home. The last game was a bit of an outlier when we had a really bad start to the game," said midfielder Sacha Kljestan, mentioning last week's 3-1 loss to the LA Galaxy.
That setback was the first time New York had lost at home this season.
"We do know that we are going up against the best team in the league," Kljestan said. "I said this after the last game that going up against Toronto no matter how well we play, they will always pose a threat and will always be a hard game for us."
Toronto's winning run has been a testament to the depth within the team with new heroes stepping forward every week.
Last week, Canadian international Tosaint Ricketts scored three times and netted both game winners in Toronto's two victories.
Toronto FC will be relying on that depth again this week with Sebastian Giovinco out for three weeks with a quad strain.
"I'm repeating myself but we have continued to challenge ourselves along every step of the way (and) that we're not happy with what we've done," midfielder Michael Bradley said. "After every game, the message has been that we've got to keep going. We shouldn't be ready to settle. We shouldn't be happy to win a few games in April and May. We've got to keep going."
In addition to Giovinco, Nick Hagglund (knee) is out longer term and Jonathan Osorio (heart) is questionable.
The Red Bulls (5-6-1) will be without Gideon Baah (leg), who is out for the season. Defender Aurelien Collin (abdominal) is questionable.
Updated May 18, 2017