Toronto FC By the Numbers

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

By ANTHONY J. MERCED

TFC logoThe New York Red Bulls have a tall order on Friday night, facing Toronto FC to Red Bull Arena.

Toronto (7-1-4, 25 points) is the hottest team in Major League Soccer having won six straight games and climbing to the top of the Eastern Conference. The Reds have done it with goals in bunches and timely defense, something that New York (5-6-1, 16) has lacked through the 2017 season. The Red Bulls are in danger of adding to their three-game losing streak.

In addition to the six-game winning streak, the Reds have amassed impressive numbers through their 12 games.

20 Goals Leads the Eastern Conference

Toronto FC has scored 20 goals in 2017, that’s the most in the Eastern Conference and second most in MLS. Only the Portland Timbers and Houston Dynamo (21 each) have scored more.

The difference among those teams is that Toronto’s scoring is spread between two players. Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco each has six goals. And while the formula for stopping them should be simple, both have been able to break down opposing defenses and open up possibilities for their teammates.

Giovinco, however, will miss Friday’s match with a quad injury that has limited him for the last several weeks.

Six in a Row, Looking for Seven

Toronto and the Red Bulls seem to be going in opposition directions.

TFC is riding a six-game winning streak in which it has outscored the opposition by 13-5. Toronto is one of only two teams (FC Dallas is the other) with a winning record on the road (3-1-2) while the Red Bulls have only lost once at home this season. (4-1-1). The three games between the teams last year ended in an even split, 1-1-1. TFC won, 2-0, at RBA early while the clubs played to a 3-3 deadlock late in the season in Canada.

A Toronto win on Friday would put it in a commanding position in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto Has Superior Depth

Toronto is one of the deepest teams in the league largely because it has augmented its high-priced threesome (Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco) with solid role players. Bradley has played every minute of every game thus far.

For example, the former NYCFC center back Jason Hernandez has assisted in the team’s strong defensive run. Also, players like Armando Cooper have been effective coming off the bench to provide a late spark.

Toronto’s depth will be put to the test on Friday because of the absence of Giovinco, who leads the league in total shots with 44 and shots on goal with 20, and Nick Hagglund. Their formation shift and reliance on players like Raheem Edwards (3 game-winning assists) could be a key.

Stats to Watch

Toronto is near the top of the league in goals scored in the final 15 minutes of games with six. The Red Bulls are near the top of the league in goals allowed in the final 15 minutes of games with five (Toronto has allowed one in that period).

When scoring first, the Red Bulls are 4-1-0; TFC is 6-1-0. When allowing the first goal, New York is 1-5-0; TFC is 1-0-2.

When trailing after 45 minutes, New York is 1-4-0; Toronto is 1-1-0.