Toronto FC begins the MLS Cup playoffs as one of the favorites after a season in which it set a league record with 69 points.
In the Eastern Conference semifinals, Toronto face a New York Red Bulls team that knows how precarious that position can be.
The Red Bulls came into the playoffs as the top team in the East in 2015 and 2016, only to fail to reach the MLS Cup final in both seasons.
In 2017, New York squeaked into the postseason as the sixth and final team out of the East before stunning the third-seeded Chicago Fire with a 4-0 knockout-round win on Wednesday night. And as the Red Bulls prepare to welcome Toronto in the first leg of their two-leg, total-goals semifinal on Monday night, even New York coach Jesse Marsch suggested his team has less of a burden this time around.
"There's not too much to talk about (that) really," Marsch said Saturday. "There's an ease to our team right now. We just want to prepare ourselves for the game and go out and play."
Even so, Marsch knows attempting to unseat Toronto will be a "massive challenge." >> Read more
Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press