Toronto FC has a number of games in hand over its rivals, and is on form for a bid at the top of the Eastern Conference.The New York Red Bulls become the first American team to return to MLS play when they host Toronto FC Friday evening (8 p.m. ET, MLS Live).
The Red Bulls entered the World Cup break after a 2-0 win over the New England Revolution to snap a four-game winless skid, and will look to continue that good form against TFC. The Reds went into the interval in even better form, having gone 3-0-1 in their last four games.
Toronto is in fourth place in the Eastern Conference right now, one point and one place above New York. But with just 11 games played compared to the Red Bulls' 15, TFC looks much safer at the moment. The Reds actually lead all Eastern Conference teams in points per game with 1.73, second only to Seattle in all of MLS.
World Cup call-ups will affect both teams, with Toronto FC missing Brazil keeper Julio Cesar and USA midfielder Michael Bradley. Costa Rica full back Roy Miller will be absent from New York's roster, although Australia captain Tim Cahill will be available to coach Mike Petke.
This will be the second meeting between these two sides this season. Toronto won the previous encounter, on May 17, by a 2-0 scoreline. English strikers Jermain Defoe and Luke Moore scored the goals in that match.